For this project I decided to explore the world and uses of 3D printing further after my exploration of the 3D printed iPhone cases market where I designed, created and now sell the 'TriStand iPhone Case - 3D printed iPhone cases with built in flip out stands' which stretched the capabilities of 3D printing to the max. Near to Christmas last year I also used the amazing 'trapping' capabilities of 3D printing to my advantage when I designed, created and now also sell the 'Captured Snowflake - Christmas Ornament'. 

This time I have used 3D printing for the creation of a one of a kind puzzle box that is solved like no other in the world:

Centrifugal Puzzle Box (these designs were printed through a company called Shapeways based in the Netherlands and New York, a copy can also be bought and 3D printed for you here via Shapeways)- This is a unique one of a kind 3D printed puzzle box that can store anything with dimensions of less than 39x39x13mm that is opened/solved in an intriguing way, by simply spinning the puzzle box on a flat surface will unlock the lid, however this is not made to be obvious:

On the lid of the box are six sliders of different shapes, these can slide along rails in the lid, there are also three buttons that can be pressed and released, however don't be fooled, these sliders and buttons have absolutely no purpose at all in helping solve the puzzle and open the box, these sliders and buttons are simply a distraction to confuse the user.
There is one clue towards the solution of opening this puzzle box for the user, firstly, you may have noticed the numbers around the top face of the lid, these are actually coded in the format of "A=1 B=2 C=3" and actually decode clockwise starting from the number after the small circle to read "give-me-a-rapid-spin-to-unlock-my-lid", this may seem hard to notice, and it is, however I have designed an optional additional clue towards finding this clue: This 3D printed key-ring contains embedded within it, using a special wax trapped within the key-ring during the 3D printing process, a QR code and the word 'CLUE' above it (just to make it that bit more obvious), if the user is stuck while solving the Centrifugal Puzzle Box they can choose to reveal this clue by using an IOS device with a camera (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch 4g) to read the QR code by using a bar-code reader application (tested with an app called 'Scan') to reveal the text "A=1 B=2 C=3" on the device's display which should help the user decode the message on the puzzle's lid helping them to solve the puzzle and open the lid.

The Mechanism - The mechanism used inside this puzzle box is a unique one and is best described in the video above, there are six 6mm ball bearings (sourced off eBay) placed in the slots around the top face of the bottom half of the box, these ball bearings can move freely in their short channels, the lid has corresponding loops that lower into these channels when the lid is placed on. Once the lid is placed on and the box is given a shake, the ball bearings should all be at random points in their channels, some will be across these loops in the lid which will stop that loop from being pulled out which will stop the lid being removed thus locking the puzzle. When the puzzle is spun, all the ball bearings travel to the outside of their channel so none are obscuring the loops in the lid meaning the lid can now be freely removed which unlocks the puzzle.

Step 1: Inspiration

With the freedom of 3D printing, I wanted to design something brand new, innovative and that to my knowledge does not exist anywhere else in the world, but it also had to be small enough that is did not cost too much to 3D print (I use an online service called Shapeways to 3D print my designs as I don't own my own a 3D printer (yet?) and this can get very costly) so this is what I came up with, a puzzle box that is solved in a unique way like no other in the world, most puzzle boxes I have seen are solved in a number of moves by moving parts of the puzzle to certain precise locations in a certain order to open the box so I wanted to make mine different... by simply spinning the box on a flat surface will unlock the box's lid however I didn't want this solution to be easy to discover so many distractions were added along the way in the design process, as well as a clue towards the solution of the puzzle in the form of a key-ring.
<p>This is a lovely piece, but it is an ad, not an 'ible. Where are the files?</p>
<p>Will you marry me? Genius!</p>
<p>Wonderful work! </p><p>A renaissance of mechanical engineering could result from widespread 3D printing and CNC machining. Wouldn't it be great if the common man became more of an engineer? In 20 years we could see this effect in society. </p>
<p>Wow. Only 16. Geez, you might be able to own a company one day! This is genius stuff. I don't know how big your pocket is, but although this printer isn't out yet, I recommend it to you, only $100 + shipping to wherever you live. If you reply, I'll give you the details.</p>
Now paint it!
Really cool! I love the fact that there are distractors!!
pretty cool
Absolutely brilliant! I especially dig the process animation, how did you do that?
This is totally awesome, it deserves a vote and a patch :P
Thanks, my first patch :) <br>I also voted for your 'Lockduino', very good idea and it works well. It cant be picked like mechanical locks can.
Haha yes! And the cool thing about it is that even if you cut the wires, you have no way of getting it! Eventually I'm going to make a heavy duty one for like a front door with a wireless keypad or something.<br><br>When I get some money I may buy your little box! I voted it as a winner, and good luck!<br><br>Glad you liked that patch!
I became interested in puzzle boxes 2 years ago and since then I've been designing my own boxes. This box is great! I'm very inspired by your work here. I'm definitely going to try to make something more &quot;dynamic&quot; for my next project :D
Im glad you like it and that this is providing inspiration, get people thinking outside the box :)
Nice design man, I liked the distractors they are the first that got my attention so they work! the mechanism kind of reminds me the one from the cast puzzle called news, don't know you've know it or not but you did a great job with yours. pretty expensive printing service, do you get something for that they sell your puzzle on they're site? P.S. I have started written second thin notebook of my ideas on puzzles and stuff like that, that would bring puzzling to a whole new level, would like to make it into a business but have no money for that and don't want to sell my ideas for penny's or give it away for free. I guess I will start making them one after another in time just for myself, maybe one day it will graduate into a business, thats for now would be my dream :)
Thank! No I haven't seen that puzzle 'News' before but I'm glad you like my design and the distractions worked :) <br>I do get a small markup when the design sells on their website however most of the money goes to the company Shapeways as the 3D printing itself costs a lot of money and is done on demand, there is not much difference in price if I order this design for myself so for me to start earning money I will have to sell over 10 just to break even with the costs of the prototypes I ordered so this is more of a hobby than a business however to print this design on a desktop 3d printer it would probably cost less than $5 (hence this being entered into the 'Up! Contest' to win a 3D printer). If you are interested in the capabilities of this 3D printing technologies view my other instructables on the 'Tristand minimalistic iPhone case' and 'Captured snowflake' as these designs demonstrate its capabilities quite well. <br>Good luck with your puzzle designs, to be honest this is the only one I've thought of yet but I hope to make more. I would recommend 3D printing for the more complex and mechanical of your designs if you make them for yourself however only if they are small as it can get expensive quickly. Check out this designers puzzles: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/oskarpuzzles he has many mechanical and innovative puzzles that may interest you that are all 3d printed.
3D printing is a great new technology that lets you make complex stuff like this http://blog.makezine.com/2012/12/06/3d-printed-gun-fires-real-bullets/ from start to finish, but I have that strong respect for good old metals, maybe its because of those cheep Chinese toys I had in childhood, that crap usually braked on the first day... plastics and metals both haves Advantages and Disadvantages and its all about the item function, my would have to be something like indestructible (barehanded of course). Anyways the method I am thinking about is CNC, as with the 3D printing theres nothing that couldn't be made with CNC and making larger items would be cheaper for sure. for now I have about 10-12 ideas that would need CNC, but theres not only mechanical ones and the stuff dot go in the usual puzzling order... I wish I would found a bag of money to make it all :D
man you are simply a genius
If you insist... (Thanks)
Congratulations! You have expanded the concepts of 3D printing. May these ideas take hold and grow, extending the design abilities of a new generation of craftsmen.
Thank you, I'm only 15 at the moment so hopefully I will have time for these ideas to 'take hold and grow'. I'm glad you like it.
Great Work!!!
Thank you!
I love it
Thanks, I'm glad you like it!

About This Instructable




More by Maundy:Variable Insulating Cup - Convection Cup 3D Printing Moving Parts Fully Assembled - 28-Geared Cube 3D Printed 'Centrifugal Puzzle Box' - solved with a spin... 
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