3D Printed Dog Puzzle Using Tinkercad

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Introduction: 3D Printed Dog Puzzle Using Tinkercad

Hey Guys! So I've been thinking of new stuff to design and print por my dogs, and I came up with this boredom buster 3D printed interactive dog puzzle.

This fun and rewarding puzzle is great for reducing anxious dog behavior and redirecting destructive behavior.

I designed entirely using Tinkercad and I found that my dogs love it!

It consists of a platform with 7 hiding compartments, and 4 sliding caps that can cover your dog's treat. I made a small hole in them so it is easier for my dogs to sniff the treats lol!

I also added two opposed tabs in each side so this game can be attachable to others with different patterns, this way I can make a really large and fun playground for my dogs! =D

Even though I designed this puzzle to be as sturdy as possible, no toy is indestructible so don't leave toys with unsupervised pets.

Here is how I designed it. At the end you can also find the finished STL files

Supplies

    • 3D Printer
    • Plastic filament (PLA, ABS or PETG)
    • 4 x M3x15 bolt + nut
    • Dog treats!

    Step 1: Let's Get It Started!

    We'll start by adding a 6 sides Polygon from the Tinkercad Basic shapes Library.
    You can find the size details in the image above

    Step 2: Placing the Holes

    We'll add 7 cylinders from the Basic Shape library and We'll size them the way we want, in my case I made them in two different sizes. Also you can place them where you want them in the platform.

    Step 3: Creating the Cover

    To create the cover We'll just duplicate the original hexagon by using Ctrl+D

    Step 4: Making Some Holes in the Cover

    We'll duplicate the holes We just created and copy them in the cover. For this part the holes must be larger than the originals, so We'll oversize them. In my case I made them 8mm larger.
    Also, We'll add some boxes the same size, they will connect the holes and will form the pattern you want your cover to have.

    Step 5: Let's Make the Caps!

    Since I'm making two different size holes I'll start by adding two spheres, each sphere must be larger than the hole created in the platform, but smaller than the one created in the cover. This way the cap will cover the dog treat, and it will slide freely through the cavity. Then We'll cut each sphere in half.
    Since each half sphere is solid, it should be sturdy enough to withstand dogs teeth, lol!

    Also we'll add a thin cylinder at the bottom of each half sphere, this thin edge will ensure that the caps will remain locked between the platform and the cover all the time.

    Step 6: Adding a Separator to the Cover

    We'll use some boxes to make a separator at the edges of the cover, this will help the caps to slide freely.
    The thickness of this separator must be larger that the thin edges we just added to the half spheres.
    Also, I added a small cylinder in each half sphere, in order to help my dogs sniff the treat.

    Step 7: Adding the Holes for the Bolts

    I want to make sure that my dogs won't separate the parts while they play, so I thought about adding 4 screws in different corners.
    For this We'll use 4 cylinders on top of the platform, this cylinders will be grouped with the top cover, sizes I used are available in the first picture.
    For the M3 bolts We'll create 3.5mm cylinders that have to be align with the previous cylinders We just created. These must be lengthen to go from side to side.

    Step 8: Making Space for the Bolt Head and Nut

    I want the bolt head and nut to be flush with the puzzle body so I added a Hole cylinder on top of each hole and a hole hexagon on the bottom of each hole. To have a snug fit between the bolt+nut and their holes I measured this parts and added 0.8mm to each one.

    Step 9: Adding the Tabs to the Platform

    Since I'm planning to print other puzzles with different patterns, I thought about adding this tabs so they all lock together and stay in place.
    For this I used a Trapezoid from the "shape generators" tab.
    After placing it where I wanted I duplicated it, roteted it 180 degrees, and downsized 0.8mm so the solid tab can be inserted in the holed tab.
    This can be repeated for each side of the hexagon.

    Step 10: Print Time!

    Print settings are standard.
    No supports needed.

    Step 11: Assembling the Puzzle

    Once the caps are inserted in the correct guides We can close it. Nuts and bolt enter easily in their compartments and once closed, caps are secured in place!

    Step 12: Call the Testers!

    My dogs had a blast while playing!

    Once they figured out how they had to slide the caps in order to get the reward they went straight to it!

    I hope your dogs enjoy it as much as mine do!

    Finished STL available here:

    Pets Challenge

    Second Prize in the
    Pets Challenge

    2 People Made This Project!

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    16 Comments

    0
    harrhope
    harrhope

    Question 2 months ago

    How big is the smaller cylinders?

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Answer 2 months ago

    Hi! The smaller cap is 32mm in diameter while the smaller hole where the treat is placed is 20mm. Hope that helped!

    0
    winneremerald12
    winneremerald12

    12 months ago

    I don't have a dog or a 3D printer, but if I did, I would most definitely make this xD
    I'm going to share it with friends :)

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Reply 12 months ago

    Lol! Thanks a lot for commenting and sharing! =D

    0
    dark_passages
    dark_passages

    Question 1 year ago

    I read most 3D printer plastics are not food safe (for humans). Not only do they contaminate the food but the tiny gaps between the layers are perfect for bacteria. What is your solution for these problems?

    0
    rmelchiori
    rmelchiori

    Answer 1 year ago

    PLA is food safe for humans, but you're correct about bacteria being able to hide in the texture of the print. This may be an issue for humans, but for dogs??? Based on the stuff my dog puts in her mouth, I wouldn't think this would be a problem. If you're really worried about it, you could epoxy coat it. 3DXTC makes a thin epoxy made for sealing 3D prints.

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Answer 1 year ago

    Yeah, I've read it too, I've been using different types of dry food/treats to prevent moisture from filling those tiny gaps. So far this solution seems to be working like a charm, the surfaces are kept clean and my dogs are kept happy! =D

    0
    katmurat707
    katmurat707

    Reply 1 year ago

    I use a lot of food safe epoxy resin, I wonder if it would be possible to coat the plastic with a thin layer to prevent the bacteria...

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Reply 1 year ago

    I've never tried it, but it definitely sounds promising! Make sure to post the results if you try it! =D

    0
    katmurat707
    katmurat707

    1 year ago

    This is awesome!!!!
    I can't wait to get a 3D printer and do stuff like this. Is it possible to do a larger version for the big beastie type pups???

    0
    dark_passages
    dark_passages

    Reply 1 year ago

    Fablab is a community where you can use a 3D printer and other expensive machines without the need to buy them yourself. Some even offer this service for free. There is a fablab in almost all major cities in the world.

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah sure! You just have to scale every object the amount you want (125%, 150%, etc..). Just keep in mind that by doing this you might need larger bolts and nuts than the ones used in the original.

    0
    sunlitho
    sunlitho

    1 year ago on Step 12

    Very, very well done instructable.
    Thanks for a wonderful idea.

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks a lot for you feedback, glad you like it!

    0
    mikecs
    mikecs

    1 year ago

    This is a great design, I will make this for sure.
    Gave me some ideas for more designs.
    I will be using petg and tpu for the caps.
    These are safe and easy to wash.
    I might try twist locks , for easy disassembly.
    Thanks.

    0
    JPGrox
    JPGrox

    Reply 1 year ago

    Cool ideas! Looking forward to seeing those awesome designs! =D