Introduction: 3D Maze

About: Autodesk Software Engineer, and avid Pier 9 workshop user.
A guide to creating a 3-Dimensional maze video game. The object is to explore a multi-level maze, navigating through both a hand held maze with a ball, and the in-game maze world.

Step 1: Create Draft Drawing

First sketch, then create detailed (ideally CAD) drawings of what you think the board will look like. This allows you to test individual parts of the design to a very high degree of precision.

Step 2: Create Test Components

For any part of your design that you are unsure of making, or doubt its functionality, make a test component.

For this project, the main point of failure were the moving walls. Using my draft drawings, I made a prototype board to test the performance of various sizes of wall and wall opening. Using this system, I found the optimum size for all my wall components, the correct size of rubber bands to use with the device, and the correct servo type and voltage my device would use.

I was also also able to decide on my materials. Based no the strength of this sheet, I decided to use 1/4 inch Plexiglas. It maintained all it's durability even when all of those rectangles were cut out of it.

Step 3: Generate Final Drawings and Laser Cut

Tweek the drawings to reflect the findings from your prototypes. Smash, unfold, and/or unravel your object to become a 2D surface.

Laser cutters usually take CAD drawings. You can see the drawing I used. Every plexi piece of the game board is on the 36x36 inch sheet.

Step 4: Trim Cuts

The laser cutter often times makes inconsistent cuts, depending on warp-ages of the plastic, and if the plastic melts and re-bonds after a cut. It was therefore necessary to trim most of the plastic pieces on a band saw.

Step 5: Assemble Board

Assemble the board. This involved three steps.

First was to assemble the walls. Each wall was made of a larger slab with two rectangles to stop it from moving up too far. The three plastic pieces then attach to a metal solenoid.

Next, I attached rubber bands to the underside of the board, to keep the wall components pressed up. When a solenoid is fired, it pulls the wall down.

Lastly, the solenoid bases need to be glued in. I adjusted their position and held them in with masking tape, then did a more solid bond with Zap-a-Gap.

Step 6: Assemble Electronics

The electronics in my video game have 3 parts: The arduino, bit-shifter, and the darlington array.

The arduino connects to my computer, which tells my game board which walls to raise and lower.

In order to drive 17 solenoids when arduino has only 14 pins, I used a bit shifter. You send it a bit sequence of the appropriate pin configuration over only one pin. It needs two other pins for timing purposes though. This 3 to 8 gain meant I only needed 9 pins to power all 17 solenoids.

The solenoids require 24 volts at 300mA, wile the bit-shifter can only handle < 5 volts and nowhere near enough amps. Therefore I needed a Darlington Array to convert the low amp, low volt bit-shift outputs and turn them into high-power, high-amp signals to power the solenoids. I had 5, but burned out 2 (be careful!) but 3 X 8 = 24 so I still had enough for my 17 solenoids.

Step 7: Processing

The computer component displays the next levels of the maze. This allows you to navigate around barriers in three dimensions. I was hoping to combine the complexity of a geometric or adventure computer game ( like tetris or zelda), with the tactility of a labyrinth game.

Step 8: Putting It All Together

Thanks for reading my instructable!

Here is a video of the board game cycling through some maze patterns.

Watch the video!