Caged Golf Ball Puzzle

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About: I like to design and build random things.

A burr puzzle, also known as an interlocking puzzle, consists of notched pieces of wood, plastic or metal that when put together creates a three-dimensional shape. The burr puzzle shown here is a modified version that was part of a prize pack from Instructables for a puzzle contest I entered a while back. The difference in this puzzle is the scale. The original puzzle trapped a small red ball. All parts for this puzzle were scaled up in order to trap a golf ball. Besides being readily available, I thought the golf ball would make a nice conversation piece.

For the build, I collaborated with Kevin from Kev’s Woodworks. Note that Kevin is 2000 miles away from me so all communication was through email. We both worked from my drawing but didn't discuss how we would approach the build.

As you will see below, this puzzle is pretty easy to build. The build from my part was documented with pictures. Kevin took it a step further and recorded his steps as shown in the video below.

I've also include 3D print files (step 12) for anyone that would like to print the puzzle. With that, I will give an Instructables premium membership for the first person that 3D prints this design and post a picture of it in the comments. Note that I'm not sure the slot widths will work on all printers. Therefore, I suggest you build two pieces and guarantee fit before proceeding to the entire build.

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Tools:

  • Table Saw
  • Router Table
  • 3/4" Router Bit
  • Tape measure or calipers
  • Pencil

Materials:

  • Wood - 1x6 by 12" long
  • Paint, Stain, or Clear Finish (optional)

Step 2: Drawings

You will be building to this drawing. As you can see, there are only two different parts to the puzzle. You will need 10 of the cyan colored part and 2 of the magenta.

Step 3: Starting Board

I cut a 1x6 down to 4.5" wide. Not that the actual thickness for a 1x6 is 3/4". Depending on how you route later, you might want to sand this board down by ~ 0.02". I didn't need to do that since my 3/4" router bit produced a 0.765" wide cut. The important part is that the material fit nicely into the notches that you cut.

Step 4: Main Slots

Two of the three slots for the parts are cut on the 4.5" x .75" board. These slots were done on the router table. That's Kevin in the picture.

Step 5: Cut Pieces

The individual parts can now be cut from the board. I used a table saw without a sled. Kevin shows a nicer way of making these cuts - see the video in the intro for more info.

Step 6: 3rd Notch

If you didn't see it in the drawing, this notch is the difference between the two parts. To me, this was the hardest step since the parts are small and I don't like to get my hands close to rotating machinery. I cut two pieces of scrap and ran them through the router. I then positioned the part between them and ran the set across the router. Kevin built a sporty jig which would definitely be faster/better if you were building multiple puzzles.

Step 7: Sand and Finish

I didn't spend much time here - just cleaned up the edges. Once sanded, I finished the parts with Danish Oil. Kevin didn't add any finish to his.

Step 8: Final Pictures - Mine

This version was built out of oak.

Step 9: Final Pictures - Kevin's

Kevin used cherry for his build.

Step 10: Solution Pictures

The puzzle is pretty daunting with 12 almost identical pieces in your hand. However, it's really not that complicated.

  • Start by separating the pieces (find the two that are different)
  • Build the center section - straight forward
  • Add the vertical pieces - this almost takes a helper
  • Use one of the two pieces and a standard piece to make an X (make two of these)
  • Insert and rotate the X section onto one of the sides
  • Turn puzzle over
  • Drop ball into puzzle
  • Add final side

If that wasn't clear, see the next Step for the Video Solution.

Step 11: Solution Video

This video should be easier to understand compared to the pictures.

Step 12: STEP & STL File

I've included STL files for anyone that would like to print the puzzle. If you print it, please post a picture.

Step 13: Final Thoughts

We were both happy with how it turned out. The experience of having a "build off" from someone on the opposite side of the country was also pretty cool. If you liked this, please see my other burr puzzles shown here and here. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for Viewing!

Remix Contest

This is an entry in the
Remix Contest

2 People Made This Project!

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25 Discussions

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MarkSanders

2 days ago

Great puzzle. The interlock is hard because of the straight cuts, sharp corners and the need to rotate into place at an angle. It may not be necessary, but one might taper the interior edges to allow for the curvature needed to turn the pieces in place?

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KieuQuangHai

9 days ago

It seems it's too hard for me :(

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phillipmilks

25 days ago

Got this response to a download request : {"error": "Sorry, we couldn't find that one!"}

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seamsterphillipmilks

Reply 22 days ago

This is a known issue that is actively being addressed by the site's engineer team. We're hoping to restore functionality of the download-as-PDF button very soon.

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daharrold

24 days ago

I did not see the stl files in step 12 so I used the drawings and designed my own using 3D builder from Microsoft. I enjoyed the process of designing, printing, and putting it together. Took me about a day from start to finished. Thanks.... :)

2019-02-23 17.11.12.jpg
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mtairymddaharrold

Reply 24 days ago

Thanks! I’m not sure what is going on...they show up for me. However, others were having problems downloading the pdf...could be the same issue. Anyway, your print looks good. Did you have any issues with fit? Check your inbox for the code.

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daharroldmtairymd

Reply 23 days ago

I had a little issue with fit, but overall it worked well. Thanks

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Too Many Projects

26 days ago

I really like to make puzzles but this is another Instructable that I am unable to download. I guess I'll try again another day. Too many errors lately. Nice work, thanks for submitting it.

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seamsterToo Many Projects

Reply 26 days ago

Hi there,

The PDF Download feature simply formats the existing content of the Instructable into PDF format for offline use, and does not contain any additional plans or information on top of what already showing in the Instructable.

The ability to save the project and easily print it is a feature that many readers appreciate. However, this function is currently not working properly and is being worked on by the site's engineers, and a fix will hopefully be in place soon! : )

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mtairymdToo Many Projects

Reply 26 days ago

Thanks. Hmmm...you are the second person to comment on that. Have you contacted the admins?

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BrianM55

26 days ago on Step 1

I am unable to download your instructions. I am getting an error message to say the site is not available. Would really like to be able to download this one.

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seamsterBrianM55

Reply 26 days ago

Hi there,

The PDF Download feature simply formats the existing content of the Instructable into PDF format for offline use, and does not contain any additional plans or information on top of what already showing in the Instructable.

The ability to save the project and easily print it is a feature that many readers appreciate. However, this function is currently not working properly and is being worked on by the site's engineers, and a fix will hopefully be in place soon! : )

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mtairymdBrianM55

Reply 26 days ago

Do you need the 3D files or a PDF of the instructable? I could email them to you, PM me if you can't get it working.

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mtairymdBrianM55

Reply 26 days ago

Ha...I just tried. I can't download it either! I will write the admins.

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chuckyd

26 days ago

That is a great puzzle. However, you used the weak axis of the wood for your material. It would be much more durable if the long grain of the wood were turned 90 degrees.

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norskcamp

26 days ago

I am excited to make these for Christmas gifts for my family of golfers!

Thanks for sharing!

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mtairymdnorskcamp

Reply 26 days ago

Thanks! I was thinking the golfers would like it as well...nice conversation piece :)

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Kink Jarfold

27 days ago on Step 13

I've got a son who solves my puzzle boxes in a snap. something like this not only looks nice as a gift but looks puzzling to solve--which is a plus. -Kink-

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