T-Rex Dinosaur Puzzle with different sizes and positions

FeaturedContest WinnerContest Winner
Picture of T-Rex Dinosaur Puzzle with different sizes and positions
This Instructable is to show you how I designed and built my own 3-D T-Rex dinosaur puzzle.

There are a lot of different dinosaur patterns that you can find to cut out with a scroll saw.  I wanted to make one of these for my son, but couldn't find a pattern that I liked.  I also wanted to be able to make a large scale pattern that was somewhere between 4 and 6 feet tall.  After looking for one for a while I decided to make one myself.  The plan was to make a pattern and then cut out a small size dinosaur and then scale it up for a larger size with any improvements I wanted to make.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

Picture of Materials and Tools Needed

1. Baltic birch plywood for the dinosaur pieces.
2. All wood pieces were left unfinished as adding a finish coat like polyurethane could affect the tightness of the interlocking joints of the pieces.
3. Spray adhesive for sticking the template pieces to the wood for cutting.


The tools I used on the project were as follows:

1. Computer and computer program to draw the parts.  I used Autocad, but Sketchup or 123D should work as well.
2. Printer - for printing out the template pieces.
3. Band saw - for rough cutting the pieces into more manageable sizes.
4. Oscillating belt and spindle sander - for sanding the faces of the smaller pieces and the edges of the pieces when needed.
5. Random orbit sander - for sanding the larger pieces.
6. Scroll saw - for cutting out the dinosaur pieces.
7. Sanding block with sandpaper - for some additional spot sanding when needed.

Not all of the tools in this list are required, but will make the construction much easier.

NOTE: If you plan on using any tool for a project please make sure you are familiar with the tool and all of the dangers associated with it. If you are not familiar with a tool then you should ask someone who is to show you the proper way to use it. A lot of communities have classes at local colleges on the proper use of tools and machinery. There are also local woodworking clubs that offer classes at very reasonable rates for beginners. I highly recommend using these resources for your safety and for the most efficient use of the tool.

Always wear eye and hearing protection.
Always work safe with the proper safety equipment and guards on your tools.
1-40 of 42Next »

By laser

4mm is of wood

Thank you for data

acalder made it!3 months ago

I scaled down the file and cut it out onto cardboard using a Laser cutter. Worked perfectly. Thanks!

stevemoseley (author)  acalder3 months ago

So glad to hear of your success. Thanks for posting a picture too.

antennas3 months ago
Wow great job. When I get home I will download this and cut it for a friend who has a young fellow into dinosaurs. Thanks.
sarahsrikumar4 months ago

Dear Sir, Can you please give me the templates to my email id : . i need in pdf form . it is so interesting that i want to do for my son....


stevemoseley (author)  sarahsrikumar4 months ago

At the bottom of the Instructable there are two PDF files that you can download - one for a 16 inch tall version and one for a 48 inch tall version. Good luck with the build!

mikef65 months ago

I was just wondering if anyone would be willing to sell the larger one since I am absolutely not handy in any way

OkThailank1 year ago
It a very nice model and many thanks for your sharing a T-Rex model. I am looking for "Make Your Own Model Dinosaurs" book to make them for my 10 year daughter to join her school dinosaur exhibition next month, but I can not effort now.

I tryed to buy it from but unfortunately he did not has that service for my country at Thailand.
Can anyone suggest me where can I find an ebook version of this book?.
Just a suggestion, why not make the theropod posture more accurate to what we now know is more accurate to bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs; with a horizontal tail and the neck starting downwards then curving up a little. These types of dinosaurs did not drag their tails like some herbivorous types may have.

That said, nice idea and good instructable :)
meodowla1 year ago
Good Work...
I work at a public library in Idaho, and we are going to attempt to make this out of 1/2 in polystyrene insulation and cut it out with those un-sharp pumpkin carving knives. Like pgeelen, I'll do it as a group project and have the children cut out the smaller pieces, and then we'll put it together. Wish me luck!
pgeelen1 year ago
Yesterday we made ​​the dinosaur. The kids had great fun making and puzzling. MDF 4 mm was ideal for jigsaws but the dinosaurs can not stand by itself. We go glue it and paint it! Steve, thanks for the drawing!!.
stevemoseley (author)  pgeelen1 year ago
Thanks for posting the picture. The dino looks great and it looks like the kids had fun with it.
pgeelen2 years ago
This is very very very nice! I'm cub leader en i think i'm gonna use this. We have 32 boys in group en they are 7-11 years old. Every year we have a program: hand jigsaw cutting. Normal we have boomerang, birdhouse, etc. But this is amazing! Cause we have only 2 hours in a week, I will make the big pieces at home with machine en the little pieces the kids can cut with handsaw. I will use thinner wood (MDF 4 mm) en will change the holes but Thanks for sharing this! All the kids like dino's so i need to do this! (I'm sorry for my bad english, just want to thank you very much!)
stevemoseley (author)  pgeelen2 years ago
I am glad you can use this for your program with the boys. That will be great to have them all work on pieces and then put them all together into one dinosaur. Please post a picture of it when you have it complete.
claramecium2 years ago
was this very hard to make?
stevemoseley (author)  claramecium2 years ago
I don't think it is a very hard project. If you are cutting the pieces out by hand then you just want to take your time and make sure you don't cut the slots where the pieces fit together wider then the thickness of your material. It's a lot easier to take some additional wood out of the slot than to put it back in.
poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a winner in the digital fabrication contest! I really really want one of these and I'm trying to find a saw to borrow so I can make one!
stevemoseley (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
Thanks so much. I was really hoping to win the Shapeoko so I could try cutting out a really small version of the dinosaur. Hmmm......Someday.
p3nguin2 years ago
This was an excellent post. I cut one out of 3/4 plywood for Halloween and it works nicely. Great job.
stevemoseley (author)  p3nguin2 years ago
Is that a CNC in the garage behind the dinosaur? Did you build it yourself? I am so envious!
stevemoseley (author)  p3nguin2 years ago
That is great. Thanks for sharing that funny picture. What a terrified look.
Merlin0472 years ago
great work. But I can not download the dwg and dxf files.
Thank you, I already download, so I'm cutting on my cnc
.Best regards
stevemoseley (author)  Merlin0472 years ago
In Google Chrome browser I just right click on the file name "Trex 3d model.dwg" and choose the option "Save link as ...". It will give you a same dialog box. I have noticed on my computer it changes the name of the file to save to a different name with a ".dwg" file extension. Just rename the file to your liking and same it in the best location on your computer. Remember to keep the proper extension.

Hope that helps.
janunes652 years ago
liked a lot, I'll try to make a
stevemoseley (author)  janunes652 years ago
Please post a picture if you build one.
mindykin2 years ago
Great work! For people who don't want to draft their own pattern, here's a book:
mindykin2 years ago
Great work! For people who don't want to draw their own pattern, here's a book of oversized dino skeleton patterns:
lucidmonkey2 years ago
Good stuff!
I did a similar one a few months ago (velociraptor) with a cheap 16inch scroll saw and some half inch ply and wood stain to give it a more fossilised look. Also a coat of clear to protect it from the elements as we keep our pet dino outside.
This looks great -- I like the dark stain for an outdoor display. Dynamic pose and hilarious photo. What a treat! :D
stevemoseley (author)  lucidmonkey2 years ago
That's a great idea to add the stain and clear coat. I don't think our dinosaur would like being outside for the Iowa winters where we live. That stone texture spray paint could be a neat texture as well.
I hear you, we get lots of snow and occasional -30C days in winter here in Ontario.
I like your idea about the stone spray paint.

Another thing you could do with the patterns you have made would be to cut out the shapes in a thicker substance (maybe that foam insulation you can get at hardware stores) but discard the "pieces" and keep the negatives instead and use them as a mold to fill with concrete or resin.

Then you could do cool looking stepping stones in the garden or an archaeological dig in the veggie patch. I think i will give it a try this spring.
stevemoseley (author)  lucidmonkey2 years ago
Great idea for the molds for stepping stones. I think the head pieces would look cool, but the teeth would have to be supported somehow.
deathmango2 years ago
What a great model, and your instructions are exceptional!

I can't load steps 3 and 5; is it possible that something happened to the links?

I'd love to see the whole instructable - this is one of the best I've seen in some time.
stevemoseley (author)  deathmango2 years ago
Thanks for your kind comments.

Not sure what would cause steps 3 and 5 to not load. Did you ever get it to work for you?
Hey, the pages are loading now! Darn gremlins must've been in the tubes again...

I may have to try a mid-sized cardboard model for fun. Maybe an oreodont, using your methodology (I'm a fan of prehistoric mammals).

I love that your method makes for accurate proportions (tracing from a fossil or reconstructed skeleton picture). I also think it's great that the poses are adjustable. Clever work, and generous of you to take the time to document and share so clearly!
adf2 years ago
Awesome project! FWIW, I built a slightly larger one for my daughter using a CNC router & 3/4" MDO (weatherproof fiberboard). "Jaws" stands about 7 ft tall and guards our garden.
stevemoseley (author)  adf2 years ago
Oh Man! That is awesome. What I would give for my own CNC router that would be great. It can get a little hard to cut the larger pieces on a scroll saw without help supporting them.
gilleseg2 years ago
Fantastic job. Looks amazing. I am going to make a 48" one for my son. When using the pdf do i need to take it to a print shop or print it out as is. In other words is it to scale or does it need scaled up. Thank you so much for the PDF I am very excited.
1-40 of 42Next »