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Remember those puzzles that you got in the early 90s - the grid with a tiger's face that you had to finagle around, tile by tile, until you managed to unscramble the tiger? 

Here's how to make a more sophisticated one that robots will remember fondly in 2050. 

Step 1: Ingredients

Here's what you need. You can make this one of two ways, using hand tools and a table saw or using a laser cutter. I will be going through the steps of using the laser cutter. 

If you happen to have access to a laser cutter, they are beneficial for making incredibly clean, straight and precise cuts, which, for a project like this is very helpful. 

1/4" plywood 
notes:
1. Be sure it's as flat as you can find, a warped piece of wood will not be your friend
2. Wood can be any thickness without changing the dimensions of any other parts. However, the wood throughout the project must be of equal thickness throughout, or things won't slide properly.
3. The amount you will need depends on how big you're going to make your puzzle.
My dimension break down for a 20" x 20" puzzle. 
Tiles:  this accounts for 3 layers of 16 tiles, allowing for one mess-up tile. 
48   4 x 4"
 
Border: the border is a little funky because you need to allow for the pieces jutting out and the pieces receding. I set it up this way, although there are many ways to arrange it with the same results:
8   2 x 20"  (these will get 45° cuts on both ends to make right angles)
1   2.5 x 17.5" 
1   2.5 x 20" 
1   1 x 17.5" 
1   1 x 16.5" 
(You can cut 2 at 2 x 20" and 2 at 1 x 20" and trim them down to size.) 
 
Bottom: The bottom will serve as a support for the whole system. (optional)
 1   20 x 20"

Total: 11.5 sq. ft of material. This breaks down most easily for cutting into one sheet of (16 x 48")  and one of  (20 x 43") 
 

wood glue
clamps or weights
epilogue laser cutter (OR chop saw & table saw)

90° straight edge, if you have one with both an exact corner and built in ruler, even better
ruler
pencil
stain or paint (optional)

<p>Hello,</p><p>I also wanted to know how well it holds up if held vertically?</p>
<p>Hello, i would like to know if i fix it on a vertical wall, pieces will slide well or it won't works ?</p>
<p>Could masonite board work as well?</p>
<p>Do you think its possible to make this one out of thick cardboard ? </p>
<p>how well does it slide? I'm trying to make one but wasn't sure how easy it will be to slide the puzzle around.</p>
You could laser cut a design in the top before you cut it, or maybe even after you put it together?
<p>Totally, just as long as the cut or etched pieces stay held together. </p>
<p>Awesome</p>
<p>Thank you :-) I'm favarating...to do when I have time. This is great for those who don't have a router (ME).! So voted ;-)</p>

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Bio: Illustrator, observer, layman scientist, collector based out of Oakland, CA. Enjoys long walks through the woods and eating whole watermelons in one sitting.
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