When I saw the puzzles challenge open on Instructables I knew I wanted to enter something so I went to search my blog to find something suitable. The trouble is I found lots and lots of items and because I own a laser cutter the production technique is remarkably similar for each one. Cut it on the laser and assemble it, possibly using some glue, so I figured I would present a collection of lasercut puzzles and provide the files, tips and techniques for each one. Hopefully you'll find this useful and inspiring (enough to vote for me anyway :) )
I feel like I have a bit of a head start on this matter, my uncle has been making me puzzles since I was four. He's very handy with a scroll saw and anything that can be done with a scroll saw can be easily laser cut. I've also been laser cutting things for five years now. My blog is just about to hit 1000 laser cut items so here are some of the best. I've also taken this opportunity to draw and cut new items just for this instructable.
The jigsaw puzzle is a classic staple of puzzling, the first jigsaw was cut around 1760 (by hand obviously) and they usually consist of a picture cut into small interlocking pieces. The laser is very good for making jigsaws because the cut width, or kerf, is only 0.1mm wide. This means the parts fit together snugly straight out of the machine.
There are a few ways to get the images onto a wooden cut jigsaw puzzles.
You can transfer colour images onto the surface wood using a technique like this one, or the laser cutter is capable of engraving a greyscale image onto the surface of the material. Once the image is drawn then it is a simple matter to cut the jigsaw into tight pieces. I took a sample section of jigsaw puzzle from wikimedia, this was already in a suitable vector format, ripe for cutting.
I can't believe I hadn't made a jigsaw on my laser before this challenge, the whole thing only took a few minutes to prepare and it can be infinitely customisable with whatever image you want on your puzzle. I might have to do more of these soon.