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Japanese Puzzle by LBD

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 02-24-2019 03:21 AM 1031 views 6 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Boys and Girls,

This is my take on what many authors refer to as a 日 本 の パ ズ ル. Now rather than be a sheep and follow in everyone else’s footsteps, I will call mine a Japanese Puzzle.

You can also use them to learn to count to “F”… or even a starter Jenga set.

A friend wanted something to make restitution with his wife for forgetting their anniversary. His wife is puzzle mad (well mad into puzzles not puzzling mad) so he asked if I could make him one of these Japanese teasers he came across in an Australian woodworking magazine. He wasn’t concerned about the looks (the puzzle… not the wife… hmm?) and would have been happy with a 3D printed version (maybe a next project for myself) as long as it worked. After heated debates about the type of timber, we somehow compromised on MDF.

While this project is presented with a laser cut MDF stunt double in the starring role, don’t freak out if you don’t have any MDF… or even less if you don’t have a laser laying around.

All cuts/dados are “straight lines” with simple dimensional mathematics, so a tablesaw and/or dado-stack/router will substitute for a laser.

While the original dimensions called for 15mm x 15mm² stock, my laser will not handle timber much thicker than 7mm, so with minimal persuasion I chose to make the parts out of 6mm MDF laminations. Now using all 10 fingers, for simplicity I chose 4 layers of 6mm MDF which worker out to 24mm x 24mm² stock (4×6 = 24… even for large values of 6)… more on this later.
Now that I’ve answered the lamination question you may not have asked… and if you might ask why MDF?... the answer is that I was too bloody lazy to mill up some 6mm thick solid timber (for laser cutting) and even lazier to go the solid timber path.

The first step was to draw up the parts in SketchUp,

This had to be followed up by the assembly/solving. Now the copy of the magazine was such small print that when zoomed in put it totally out of focus.
Let me tell you, trying to rotate a computer screen is just a tad more difficult than bits of timber in the hand… After many frustrating hours, I realised one of the parts was accidentally flipped and there was no way it was going to assemble. Having realised my error, I flipped the part back and took a mere 2 more hours to successfully assemble it… just kidding, but still took quite a few minutes,

I did colourise the parts to assist in interpreting the assembly procedure/sequence

Now the measurements were ideal for cutting out of solid timber and should be relatively simple, however, I chose to laser it out of MDF.

To allow for 4 layers of 6mm MDF, I had to upscale the original parts by 1.6. This made the length too long so after the 1.6 increase I shortened each end ( of each piece) by 40mm.
As I laminate MDF, I use alignment dowels to prevent slippage during glue up,

Now for the morphing from SketchUp,

through Layout (SketchUp Pro complimentary software), CorelDraw and my Trotec laser print software, the parts were cut,

Part of this morphing process was to create a layout document with enough measurements to layout and cut on conventional machinery.

While on the laser, I engraved a part number (well actually a letter) to identify each piece in case one needed to refer to the cheat sheet (solution).

Used a PINEWOOD font which I kinda like for text on timber,

The letter were engraved on the “inside” of each part so it would not be noticeable unless you are either observant or Superman (welcome to earth Kryptonian).
Did a dry assembly of individual parts,

Time to disassemble which was a pain as the dowels tended to grip on the laser cut surface and fought back for its life.

Glued and clamped…

one can never have enough clamps,

Time to trim the protruding dowel,

and sand,

Tested parts compatibility and sanded/scraped any protrusions and glue squeeze out.

Tried to assemble and even with the instructions it took longer than a timing that would make me proud.

After a severe tung lashing I left it out to dry. Being MDF, it should dry in a day or so

and I can rid myself of this nuisance and take my frustration out on a cask or two of vino. I considered giving it a shellacking but took pity on it and decided to beat the shit out of it with my 3 step buffing routine,

Somehow it still managed to shine,

The friend started talking about a 日 本 の 箱 パ ズ ル (Japanese Box Puzzle) to store this gift in… I told him that I’ll make him one for atonement if he forgets his diamond anniversary… as he is recently married, I don’t think I have too much to worry about for a long, long time!

Did make a video... but only to prove that I know how to put it together….

If you don’t know SketchUp but still like looking at dirty pictures check this out and if you know SketchUp, the models can be downloaded from here. However, as always, SU provides a quick presentation for those that hate reading (so don’t read the above) and have no intention of making one of these but curiosity got the better of them… GOTCHA!.

And to think this was gonna be a short article?

PS. Late addition.

This puzzle reminds me of a motor… everytime I pull one apart and rebuild it, I have parts left over….

I have dismantled and rebuilt this puzzle so many times that I had enough pieces left over,

to assemble another one.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD





18 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

5910 posts in 2600 days


#1 posted 02-24-2019 03:27 AM

An amazing job!

I am way to lazy—what ever to even attempt that!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View anthm27's profile

anthm27

684 posts in 1444 days


#2 posted 02-24-2019 03:44 AM

I think I would have no trouble in getting to use the letter F very soon after I attempted that Puzzle.
Well done,

View crowie's profile

crowie

2977 posts in 2285 days


#3 posted 02-24-2019 05:04 AM

Well Ducky you’ve done it and, again done it well, using technology to it’s max!!

Here’s an “F” word I’d use – Fantastic work sir!!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Pjonesy's profile

Pjonesy

290 posts in 1160 days


#4 posted 02-24-2019 07:25 AM

Well done LBD it is good to see you making things other than the jigs for making things. I will be over your way again on Wednesday to see my daughter and to visit the Avalon air show.

-- Don't tell me it can't be done.

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

3338 posts in 2502 days


#5 posted 02-24-2019 07:35 AM

I know this puzzle and many orthers like this 日 本 の 箱 パ ズ ル one, but the way you put it all together make it worth to read the hole story. Thanks Ducky for this well-done entry.

-- https://dutchypatterns.com/

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

3338 posts in 2502 days


#6 posted 02-24-2019 09:38 AM

A challenge ?

-- https://dutchypatterns.com/

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2384 posts in 1155 days


#7 posted 02-24-2019 10:10 AM

ralbuck, to overcome your laziness, make up 5 sets and randomly distribute 6 pieces to each of 5 friends and wait for the belly laughs from their ensuing frustration… if that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.


I think I would have no trouble in getting to use the letter F very soon after I attempted that Puzzle.
Well done,

- anthm27


I had to make another copy of the ”F” as I quickly wore out the first one.


.... using technology to it s max!!...
- crowie

Hey crowie, in the words of that philosopher Confusion... it’s like when you look at the Beatles’ music, at first it seems daunting, however, change the key and anyone can play them…


..... good to see you making things other than the jigs…..
- Pjonesy

Thanks for the vote of confidence Pj, however, in reality it is a jig for chopsticks,

Japanese chopsticks.

BTW. If you have time up your sleeve; your shirt is too big… nevertheless, if you feel like a pilgrimage to Chuchilll (160K ESE from Melbourne) you are more than welcome and feel free to stay overnight… only catch is, you must be prepared for a cavity search if either my drill press or lathe goes missing!
PM me if you want the address.

FAIW, you could hijack a plane and land it down the main street of Churchill and no one would even notice… just park it in the Safeway’s carpark… but don’t take up 2 parking bays or that’ll really crap me off.

Thanks for the kind words Dutchy. The problem I’ve found with LJ is that newbies have 9,696 pages of projects to wade through (past articles) as often the search engine is sadly lacking…

As for your challenge, here is the solution…

I simply downloaded it from LJ and upload it again… easy-peasy!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

1855 posts in 2037 days


#8 posted 02-24-2019 03:54 PM

Well I do find all this very puzzling. Okay, that’s the best I could come up with. Thanks for all the info. I’d love to make one for my grandson,,, but I don’t think he would have the patience for it.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View jester4977's profile

jester4977

20 posts in 881 days


#9 posted 02-24-2019 04:35 PM

Nice job! I may need to try my hand at making one.

-- -- John, Somewhere in Indiana

View FrenchGoattoys's profile

FrenchGoattoys

36 posts in 84 days


#10 posted 02-24-2019 04:49 PM

Sweet! LBD. But, to hell with the puzzle. Tell me about your laser. I am feeling insecure now. My shop, happily dubbed “The French Goat Bar and Drill” is severely lacking. The closest thing I have to laser technology is the red dot on the tv remote. All I have in my shop is three files, a hand saw, two crazy cats, and a piece of 100 grit sandpaper. Well, that is not true. There is a beer fridge, a wine rack, and two flasks, hence the bar in the name.

Clearly, I have p** envy right now.

All kidding aside, what brand is your laser? Does it make much saw dust? The puzzle is cool.

Regards,

-- KJ, Spokane, WA.: Don’t count the days; make the days count.

View jester4977's profile

jester4977

20 posts in 881 days


#11 posted 02-24-2019 06:56 PM

Just got back in from the shop and completed this build in 2 hours. Now I just need to apply a finish to it so it lasts. Mine is made from mahogany, I cut it on the table saw, then fine tuned each piece with a hand plane to get to the right size. After completing the build I also cut down the lengths of the pieces to only protrude 50mm out from the core.

Thanks for sharing LBD, and thanks for the sketchup file as well!

-- -- John, Somewhere in Indiana

View jester4977's profile

jester4977

20 posts in 881 days


#12 posted 02-24-2019 07:31 PM

I felt that the pieces were still too long, so I removed another 25mm from each end, leaving only 25mm sticking out from the center. It looks much better now, and it feels nicer when assembling it.

-- -- John, Somewhere in Indiana

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2384 posts in 1155 days


#13 posted 02-25-2019 12:33 AM


.... make one for my grandson,,, but I don t think he would have the patience for it.

- PaulDoug


Then PD, may I suggest you make one for your doctor or a nurse!

..... and a piece of 100 grit sandpaper…..

..... All kidding aside, what brand is your laser? Does it make much saw dust?
- FrenchGoattoys


My laser is a Trotec Speedy 100 (humble 30W) holding hands with a Trotec Atmos-Mono filter unit. Now you can get a much cheaper combination than my mine… my non-commercial 10yo purchase is a longer story than all my articles here at LJ combined. There is no sawdust per-se, however, there is airborne by-products that is not considered a health benefit, especially in an enclosed environment. As mine is located in a bedroom, I prefered the safety of a filter that filtered all the burnt exhaust fumes. In a workshop, a “standard” economic dust extractor would suffice.

And all kidding aside, if you flip the 100 grit over you also have a burnishing pad…


Just got back in from the shop and completed this build in 2 hours. Now I just need to apply a finish to it so it lasts. Mine is made from mahogany, I cut it on the table saw, then fine tuned each piece with a hand plane to get to the right size. After completing the build I also cut down the lengths of the pieces to only protrude 50mm out from the core.
- jester4977

Thank’s for the confirmation j’4977 that is can “easily” be done with regular tools… and relatively quickly.

My initial intention was to get the puzzle into SketchUp and fortunately had the need to make one for my friend.
The beauty of the laser is that the cuts are accurate and repetitive. I can cut out a set in a few minutes, package the unglued pieces with 24 @ 4mm x 24mm dowels and hand them out to recipients with instructions to assemble themselves. The fit off (that’s off not of) the laser, doweled, makes glue-up optional… gluing just keeps the pieces (laser cut piececs) together;
Do agree that the smaller pieces would be easier to handle (that’s why I shortened my 24mm x 24mm ² version), however, full size looks better as a dust collector on display, when not in confused hands.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

5654 posts in 3001 days


#14 posted 02-25-2019 02:49 AM

Thanks for all the trouble and the good read and I will give this a go when the shop warms up .
Anyway I had a good giggle and that made my day.

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2384 posts in 1155 days


#15 posted 02-25-2019 03:38 AM



...I had a good giggle and that made my day.
- kiefer

Thanks keif’, that comment has made my day.

While I try to be informative wherever I can, if I manage to put a smile on someones face it gives me a greater sense of achievement… damn, if I write a long article, I need to throw in a tickling feather or two to keep the reader awake.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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