Introduction: Coffee Love Puzzle

About: My name is Erhan. I am a mechanical/manufacturing engineer. I am an amateur puzzle collector, craftsman and designer. I like mechanical puzzles, board games and wood works. I write also a small non commercial…

I love puzzles, games, woodwork, books,cooking etc. I love also coffee. Coffee is a good companion for your other loves. You can drink a coffee when you solve a puzzle or when you read a book.

This puzzle is a tricky take apart puzzle  and has some similarities with blind mazes. But blind mazes connect both end of the maze. In this puzzle you put the ball from the small hole at the top of the mug and take it out from the bottom of mug. There is a small trick and you can't take back the ball out from the top of the mug.

This is an easy project. I finished  in weekend with a 1,5 day work. This puzzle may be a good recycle project too. Inside bottom of old mugs generally cracks after long years. I use them as a flower pot for my cactuses. This puzzle may be a new use for old mugs. You can put this puzzle on your coffee table and have fun with  friends. That kind of puzzles are easy to make and has low material cost. For this reason may be a good gift for your friends.

If you like puzzles and looking for more puzzle projects you can visit my non commercial puzzle blog "diypuzzles" from here

Step 1: How This Puzzle Works

For making your own puzzle it's better first to understand how it works. For this reason I will explain first how this puzzle works.
The red line show the path of the ball. As you can see from the drawing there are six layer inside of the mug. You drop the ball from the small hole drilled to the cap of the puzzle(mug). The ball passes from blue pipe and drop to the second layer. As you can see from drawing there isn't a connection between first layer and second layer. And if you turn the mug upside down, you can't take back the ball or pass it to the first layer. The ball must passes small mazes and goes to the bottom of the mug.
After you will turn the mug upside down. The ball will go to the first layer, pass to the handle side and after turning the mug to it's normal position will follow exit path and you will take out the ball from the bottom of the mug.

If it looks easy for you, you must remember that you will make everything without seeing inside mechanic or the ball. This is a difficult puzzle.

Step 2: Materials and Tools for Making Your Own "Coffee Love" Puzzle

For this project I used a porcelain coffee mug. I will share here all information for making this puzzle. I will give also dimensions of my project. But unfortunately all mugs shapes and dimensions are slightly different. But this is an easy project. After understanding the method and some craft tips you can adapt to your mug and materials easily.

For this project you will need,
One porcelain mug: If you like you can use also plastic mugs.
A glass drill bit : I used 6 mm. You can find in all hardware stores for low prices.
One 4 mm stainless steel ball: If you can find one, you can remove from old roller ball bearings. Diameter of ball isn't critical. You can change all dimensions according to your ball diameter easily.
Plywood: I used 3 mm plywood.
Mahogany: 6 mm thickness for cap of the puzzle. A dark wood looks like coffee. If you can't find, you can paint your cap.
Square ready stocks from hardware stores: I used 6x6, 15x15 mm and some workshop scraps instead of 10x10 mm
An old plastic pen as a tube

You will need a variable speed hand drill or a drill press with low spindle speed. Cordless small hand drills can work fine.
If you have you can use a scroll saw  but a jewelery hand saw is enough for this project. 

Step 3: Drilling Porcelain Mug

First step of this project is drilling the bottom of your mug. You will need a glass drill bit. Today it's easy to find in hardware stores and cheap. Drilling porcelain is easier than glass. But be careful. Drill a hole at least 1 mm bigger than your ball diameter. I used an 6 mm drill bit for 4 mm ball.

Do not over speed your drill bit. Porcelain is hard and abrasive, and bits can be quickly ruined.
Use water in your drilling process, put some water at the back side of the mug as shown on the photo.
A drill press may be better for regulating bit pressure. But you can use also a hand drill.
Don't apply pressure to your drill bit.
Set your drill to lowest spindle speed and be patient. Drill slowly. Take back your drill bit with short intervals. This will cool and clean your drill bit

Porcelain is hard and brittle, and it is also sharp. Handle it carefully, using gloves, a breathing mask, and safety glasses.

Step 4: Making Layers of the Puzzle

For this step I started by making round disks from plywood and puzzle cap from mahogany.
I prepared 6 plywood disks (I used five of them this may change according to your mug and material dimensions). I draw them with a compass, marked centers and draw two perpendicular line with a pencil. I cut all of them with jewelery hand saw. You can cut also with a scroll saw.

Step 5: Bottom Layer

This is the bottom layer of the mug. I used 6x6 mm square ready stocks. I cut them with a small hand saw. In this layer I closed the exit path. Two small blocks is only for supporting plywood disk that separate two layer. For fixing wood to porcelain I used a yellow glue. Brands can change according to countries. But you can find a good glue for fixing wood to porcelain in your hardware store easily. Handle side of the mug is exit path of the marble.

After I fixed with carpenter glue a plywood disk. Hole at handle side and the hole at left are for exit path. Hole at the top for the ball passes from this layer to the bottom of the mug.

Step 6: Second Layer

I made second layer with a simple maze. I closed again entourage of exit paths with 6x6 square stock.

Don't forget to test your paths with your ball after each layer. If a problem happens your puzzle will not work and you can't turn back. After each layer test each hole and path carefully by dropping your ball.

Another separator plywood disc. Now the hole for the marble passes to other layer is at the bottom side. Don't forget changing the side of this hole for each layer. If you don't change your marble will drop directly to the bottom layer without following the maze.

Step 7: Third Layer

Another layer and plywood separator.
I made in this project each layer with a different maze arrangement. My mazes are very simple you can make your own mazes.

Step 8: Fourth Layer

With this layer and plywood separator you completed four bottom layer.
Don't forget to test your layers with your ball.

Step 9: Fifth Layer

Now you will make the layer that the ball will drop at the beginning. This layer must be thicker than other layers. Because the end of your pipe will enter to this layer about 5-6 mm and also your ball will move here. I made this layer thickness 15 mm by using 15 x15 mm square stock.

The material that I used is a scrap from an old chain carving project. You can use 15x15 mm square stock. At the bottom there is a small barrier made of 6x6 mm square stock. This is a small barrier and an additional trick. The ball must pass over this by turning the mug upside down (or by shaking and jumping) Be careful and don't close the path of the ball completely.

Step 10: Puzzle Cap and Top Layer

Now I will prepare the puzzle cap and top layer.
First I drilled a small hole (5 mm for a 4mm ball) to the center of cap piece.

In this step you will need to a an old cheap plastic pen (an empty one is better for recycling)
You must find a pen that the inside diameter is bigger than your ball. You will cut this and use as blue pipe shown in schematic drawing.

You will cut this pen according to your mug dimensions.
You must half drill the back side of your cap with a bigger drill bit according to your pen diameter and mount it to the cap a seen on the photo.

Step 11:

For making top layer fix with glue two wooden block. You can calculate your last layer thickness according to your mug dimensions and find something from your workshop scraps. Be careful, don't fix them too much close to the pipe and don't close the marble path. Marble must pass from one side to the other side.

Step 12:

Now you will prepare last separator plywood,
The shape of this one is different. Center hole has same diameter with your pen and there are two hole for connecting left side of the exit path to the handle side.

You will fix this to the cap piece. Be careful for not closing marble path.

Now you will fix this piece with glue to the other layers that you made into the mug.
Be careful, two hole must match with two exit paths at the handle side and at he left side of the mug.

Step 13:

Now your puzzle is ready. You can make a coffee for your self and solve your puzzle.

If you like puzzles and looking for more puzzle projects you can visit my non commercial puzzle blog "Diypuzzles" from here