Puzzle Box (Unabox)





Introduction: Puzzle Box (Unabox)

This is a modified version of the Unabox which was built by TXTCLA55 as shown here:


This simplified version can be built with limited tools and a basic skill level. The drawing is included in the video description. Note that the drawing units are in inches verses millimeters shown in Make Magazine.

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Saw
  • Drill & bits
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Sander
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil


  • 4 foot long 1x6
  • 4 inch long 2x4
  • 3/8” and 1/4” dowels
  • Screws or Nails (optional)
  • Glue
  • Wood filler
  • Paint or Stain

Step 2: Overview

Refer to these images during build.

Step 3: Bottom and Sides

Cut bottom to 8.25” x 5.125”. Cut two sides to 8.25” x 2.75”

Step 4: Ends

Cut ends as shown. Add blind hole to T-shaped end. This will be the locking feature for the top.

Step 5: Fixed and Rotating Top

Cut fixed top and rotating top as shown. Note that this piece should start from the same size piece as the bottom (8.25” x 5.125”). Add thru holes as shown.

Step 6: Slotted Top

Cut slotted top as shown. Add blind 3/8” hole to end. I used a drill and wood file to make the slot.

Step 7: Inside Block

Cut block from a 2x4. Add blind hole as shown.

Step 8: Pins

Cut dowels as shown.

Step 9: Assembly - Step 1

Attach sides and ends to the bottom piece. This can be done with glue, nails, screws, etc. I used a pocket hole jig and glue.

Step 10: Assembly - Step 2

Add inside block and pins. The block can be attached as desired. The pins are glued into these pieces.

Step 11: Assembly - Step 3

Attached fixed top and slotted top as shown. I used glue and wood screws from the inner side.

Step 12: Assembly - Step 4

Assembly as shown. Insert locking pin as the final step.

Step 13: Final Product

Step 14: **Update - Added Drawings**

3 People Made This Project!


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Can you relink to the file please — not working!

Sorry, the link was blown away. I added the actual PDFs to the last step. Feel free to download.

DoH, didn’t see them there. Ended up finding some files here: http://makezine.com/projects/make-20/the-unabox/

What length do you cut the dowels to? You don't say in the image, you just say diameter. :-?

Good catch. Unfortunately, I can't find the CAD file. BTW, the lengths are not critical - I think I cut them to fit while making the box. If you really need them, they can be easily backed out from the other dimensions.

It isn't terribly important. I kinda figured you just stuck them in and cut them to the "about right" length. :) I have done that before (with varied results).
I am planning on making this as a Christmas present for my brother. Originally I was going to make it for myself but I realized it would be perfect for him. I'll try to get pictures up when I complete it.

(P.S. This is by far the best and easiest design I have found. and it gives plenty of room for adjustments and improvisations. Thanks a bunch!)

Yeah, I just winged the pin length. This was one of my first woodworking projects so I was still in the learning stage. If I ever build it again, I will try to make it more of a puzzle. You could add multiple fake pins on the top surface. Read the comments below for suggested improvements.

I'm definitely going to make this....the ONLY change I'd make is I wouldn't put the "locking pin" in at all. As the locking pin isn't hidden, it seems a bit un-necessary, and could possibly get stuck if it were pushed in too far.