Electric Puzzle Game




Introduction: Electric Puzzle Game

About: I'm just a programmer with a lot of hobbies

1.1 What is it

When I was a child I had a game like an electric puzzle that fascinated me. With that game, you could make a lot of electric circuits like radio, buzzer sounds, lights...and others. This project is not like that game but is something close.
I wanted to buy such a game but you don't find such games these days. So first I want to show you what this game can do so you can decide if you want it or not.

This is a puzzle-like game where the puzzle pieces are electronic components.

I made 19 circuits using simple passive electronic components.

The electronic components are making contact without soldering anything, contact is made by small magnets with screws.

The game can be used especially for educational purposes.

1.2 What will you be able to do

Implemented circuits are:

  1. Voltmeter- measuring a battery voltage - video here
  2. Using a LED, a switch, a push-button, a REED switch, and making a variable LED light - video here

  3. Capacitor discharge - video here
  4. Light a LED with water - video here

  5. Infrared remote control - video here

  6. Infrared remote with a transistor as a switch - video here

  7. Simple buzzer circuit - video here

  8. Variable buzzer sounds - video here

  9. Discharge capacitor into the buzzer - video here

  10. Birds sound with a buzzer - video here

  11. Light-activated LED - video here

  12. Dark activated LED - video here

  13. Touch sensor - video here

  14. DC motor and Newton's disk - video here

  15. DC motor speed regulator - vide here

  16. Generating electricity with a DC motor - video here

  17. Flip flop LED - video here

  18. Tesla coil - video here

  19. Lie detector - video here

1.3 Tools that do you need

- tweezers

- soft hammer (a hammer that is not made out of metal, maybe a wood hammer - I used a hammer with plastic head, you can see an image in step 1)

- pliers to cut wires

- striping pliers

- electric screwdriver (don't even try to do this manually)

- soldering iron

- palette knife

- 3D printer

- a measuring device (for continuity, ohmmeter, transistors...)


1.4 Materials that you need

- PETG filament for the 3D printer(I used red and blue but the choice is yours). I don't think PLA will work well for this. You will need a small amount of red, transparent PETG for the leds that are completely inside the covers. I used ruby red.

- about 200 x Neodymium magnets 6x3mm(6mm diameter, 3mm height). Magnetic poles m

- 1 x 9V battery

- 2 x 1.5V AAA battery

- 2 x 1.5V AA battery

- 1 x 9V battery socket

- 2 x 1.5V AAA battery socket

- 2 X 1.5V AA battery socket

- electrical wires - I used wires from a UTP internet cable.

- Screws M3x10, hexagonal inner head, round outer head, flat head

- Screws M3x18, hexagonal inner head, round outer head, flat head

- Rectangle nut M3

- 1 x voltmeter https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32917656425.html?...

- 2 x push buttons round, diameter 12 mm

- 1 x push switch button 12 mm diameter

- 1 x switch 3 positions with lever 6 mm diameter.

- 1 x REED switch

- 2 x 9V DC motor - 26mm diameter

- 1 x 6V DC motor - 21 mm diameter

- 2 x 2N2222 transistors

- 2 x 2N3904 transistors

- 1 x phototransistor

- 1 x photoresistor

- 1 x 220 Ohm resistor

- 1 x 270 Ohm resistor

- 1 x 330 Ohm resistor

- 2 x 390 Ohm resistor

- 2 x 470 Ohm resistors

- 1 x 1K Ohm resistor

- 2 x 10K Ohm resistor

- 1 x 20K Ohm resistor

- 1 x 47K Ohm resistor

- 1 x 100K Ohm resistor

- 2 x 1M Ohm resistor

- 1 x 1K ohm variable resistor

- 1 x 5K ohm variable resistor

- 1 x 100K ohm variable resistor

- 1 x PC buzzer

- 2 x 100 micro Farads capacitor > 9V

- 1 x 470 micro Farads capacitor > 9V

- 1 x 1000 micro Farads capacitor > 9V

- 2 x led (red - 5mm)

- 2 x led (green - 5mm)

- 1 x 1N4007 diode 1 x infrared led

- 2mm diameter copper wire for the primary Tesla coil

- 0.4mm diameter copper wire for the secondary Tesla coil

- [optional] 1 x module for lowering tension from here

- [optional] 1 x 12 V DC transformer

Step 1: Before You Start Printing

Use the G-codes I attached where they are available, some were too big to attach but most of the objects have G-codes.

If you do not want to use the G-codes you can use the STL I attached. Place the objects exactly as in the images attached at each step, use the same infill and support structures(only 3 small objects contain supports)

Print all the pieces exactly as described in the images, do not add supports where they are not specified.

I printed everything in 0.3mm resolution with 25% infill. I used this low resolution because there is a lot to print.

I used a special print bed for PETG, I'm not sure how is called, the surface is not flat, it has a lot of irregularities and this helps to remove PETG as PETG sticks extremely well. But I found that these small irregularities give a pleasant look to the objects. I attached a picture of my print bed in this step.

Step 2: 3D Print a Special Piece That You Will Use to Assemble the Motherboard.

This step is very important because you will repeat it a lot of times so if you passed through this successfully then the hard part has passed.

First, the hammer I used is not a regular hammer, is a hammer with plastic not metal on the head. Probably regular hammers will work too but I think is better to hammer down with this hammer. You can see an image with the hammer right here.

  1. Print cover.stl in red.
  2. Print base 1x1.stl in red.
  3. Print at least 4 contact.stl in any color.
  4. Print mesh_contact4.stl in blue.
  5. Use the tweezers and remove the filament that is hanging in the holes where you will put the screws as in the image attached. Insert tweezers catching the filament and rotate. Do not try to print with support structures to avoid this step, it will only make things worse.
  6. Place the cover on but don't put the lateral screws.
  7. Place the magnets in the holes and hammer them into the sockets. They are very tight. You need to know exactly how hard you need to hammer the magnets to not break the plastic. It will be very helpful if you will hammer them on a surface that is not very hard. I hammered the magnets on a hexagonal dumbbell filled with sand and coated in rough plastic but many surfaces will do well.
  8. Open the cover and using the palette knife. You will see that is very hard to split the base from the cover, they fit in perfectly.
  9. Place the base on a surface and hammer the contacts on with the electrical wires in. Contacts have a variable inner diameter and the original plan was to insert them with the wider part first but the contact is perfect anyway.
  10. Using the measuring device check all connections. If you don't have continuity probably you need to reuse the same handy hammer but before that check if there is not a residue of plastic between the screw and the magnet.
  11. Put back the cover and place the 4 lateral screws(M3x10). I placed these screws on every piece but they are optional as the base and cover are already very tight.
  12. Take mesh_contact4 object and hammer it down(or stick it with superglue if is not a perfect fit). Hammer works for most of the objects, no superglue is needed.

Step 3: Use a 3D Printer to Print the Motherboard Pieces

The motherboard is composed of 5 pieces:

- base_extended.stl - printed twice

- bridge_base.stl - printed twice

- bridge_lateral.stl - printed twice

- table.stl - printed twice

- contact.stl - about 200

Print the attached STL's exactly as described in the images attached or use the G-codes attached.

The motherboard is the biggest piece and the hardest to assemble. You should have a flat surface on the 3D printer bed, otherwise, some problems may arise.

Step 4: Assemble the Motherboard

  1. All the holes in the table.stl must have screws M3x18, except the border holes(as you can see in the second image attached to this step). Place all the screws using the electric screwdriver. When screwing, place one finger on the back of the motherboard to prevent the special mobile section to spin out of control(as described in the image).
  2. Check each screw and see if is mobile. All screws have mobility in a special shaft. Press hard with your fingers to unlock each mobile section. All the mobile sections will be locked right after print because PETG leaves fine filament traces between objects.
  3. Turn the table upside down and place the piece listed in step 2 in one of the designated slots.
  4. Now you can safely hammer the contacts.stl with the wires into the screws that are right above the special piece listed in step 2.
  5. Repeat step 4 for all the slots. Be careful not to hammer on the border holes, you may damage the table. When finished the back of the motherboard should look like the image named back_of_motherboard.JPG
  6. Assemble the rest of the pieces as described in the image above.
  7. Where you see rectangular holes you must use the rectangular nuts.

The motherboard is ready.

Step 5: 3D Print the 1x1 Bases

This will be the most printed part, over this base there will be the electrical components.

The G-code I prepared contains 9 bases. Print 9 now and later you can print more.

After print prepare them as described in step 2(tweezers, screws, magnets, contacts.stl).

Step 6: 3D Print the Batteries Bases, Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Batteries.

Print the files, assemble them as described in step 2. In the next steps, I will just publish the files, assembly instructions are the same...

Step 7: 3d Print the Buzzer Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Buzzer

Step 8: 3D Print the Capacitor Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Capacitors

Step 9: 3D Print the Big Contacts Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Contacts

Step 10: 3D Print the Small Contacts Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Contacts

Step 11: 3D Print the Diode and LED's Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Diodes and LED's

There is a special plate with 2 cover_led_transparent.stl. Here you should use the transparent RED PETG.

Step 12: 3D Print the Tesla Coil Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Tesla Coil

In the movie, you can see that the tesla coil is not properly assembled, the secondary coil connector is indicated wrong on the cover, in fact, the secondary coil connector is on the opposite side under the cover. The wires are so thin that I didn't want to correct this problem to do not break the coil.

I wired the Tesla coil as indicated in this article.

However, in that article is not mentioned the diameter of the wires. According to my measurements, I used 2mm diameter copper wire for the primary Tesla coil and 0.4mm diameter copper wire for the secondary Tesla coil. I have measured the diameters with a digital shahe and I'm unsure if I measured them correctly as this cooper wire is insulated with a thin layer of some isolating substance.

Step 13: 3D Print the Liquid Holder Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Liquid Holder

Step 14: 3D Print the Voltmeter Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Voltmeter.

Step 15: 3D Print the DC Motors Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Motors.

button.stl and gear1.stl both contain a hole for the magnet.

Here you must place the magnets in such a way that button.stl is attracted by gear1.stl so Newton's disk can be sandwiched between them tightly.

Step 16: 3D Print the Power Supply Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Power Supply.

Step 17: 3D Print the Reed Switch Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Reed Switch.

Step 18: 3D Print the Resistors Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Resistors.

Step 19: 3D Print the Switches Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Switches.

Step 20: 3D Print the Touch Sensor Cover and Mesh, Assemble the Touch Sensor.

Step 21: 3D Print the Transistors Covers and Meshes, Assemble the Transistors.

Step 22: Start Playing

All pieces are done, now you should measure all the pieces and make sure that are working properly.

Use the measuring device and check all contacts and pieces if you have not done this already.

Place the motherboard horizontally when working with it.

Starting with the next step I will post images of the puzzles.

Step 23: Circuit 1 - Voltmeter- Measuring a Battery Voltage

Step 24: Circuit 2 - Using a LED, a Switch, a Push-button, a REED Switch, and Making a Variable LED Light

Step 25: Circuit 3 - Capacitor Discharge

Step 26: Circuit 4 - Light a LED With Water

Step 27: Circuit 5 - Infrared Remote Control

Step 28: Circuit 6 - Infrared Remote With a Transistor As a Switch

Step 29: Circuit 7 - Simple Buzzer Circuit

Step 30: Circuit 8 - Variable Buzzer Sounds

Step 31: Circuit 9 - Discharge Capacitor Into the Buzzer

Step 32: Circuit 10 - Birds Sound With a Buzzer

Step 33: Circuit 11 - Light-activated LED

Step 34: Circuit 12 - Dark Activated LED

Step 35: Circuit 13 - Touch Sensor

Step 36: Circuit 14 - DC Motor and Newton's Disk

Step 37: Circuit 15 - DC Motor Speed Regulator - Vide Here

Step 38: Circuit 16 - Generating Electricity With a DC Motor

Step 39: Circuit 17 - Flip Flop LED

Step 40: Circuit 18 - Tesla Coil

In this image and in the corresponding video you can see that I used a module to lower the tension to 9V, but a fully loaded 9V battery will also do the job.

Step 41: Circuit 19 - Lie Detector

Step 42: Final Words

Most of the circuits are from http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/. There you can find some technical explanations about the physics behind these circuits.

The Tesla coil is made after this article.

Flip flop LED is made after this article.

The DC motor speed regulator is made after this article.

The lie detector is made after this article.

Some circuits are adaptations made by me but I'm not a specialist in this domain so use this game at your own risk. I would not let children around the Tesla coil unsupervised, in the rest, the projects should not pose any danger to children on adults in my opinion(as a nonelectrical engineer).

The magnetic contacts add some resistance to the circuits and as the circuits grow the resistance starts to be a problem. I think the size of the motherboard is at a maximum like this.

These 19 circuits are only a part of what you can do with this game, even with only these components you can make a lot of other circuits useful for learning the physics behind. I also made with the existing components some logical gates: OR, AND, NOT, NOR and NAND. I used the instructions from here to make them.

If you need to create new pieces you can find the original Blender file here. In this file, you will find a few components that are not included in this instructable like a volt-amperemeter cover, a half-sized motherboard, an ohm-meter cover, a simple inductor cover, some different gears for the motors.

But the file could be especially useful because I left personalizable text with what you can make completely new components like a new resistance with a value that is not in the original project described here.

This project is free for all non-commercial purposes.

Thank you.

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    2 years ago

    A really great concept and execution! May I ask what 3D printer you are using? The results look very nice!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Prusa I3-MK3S


    2 years ago

    Thank you, I'm really glad to see that you like this game. I'm also preparing version 2 which should be better from all points of view. I intend to use pogo pins to make the contacts replacing most of the magnets. This will make the game much cheaper, less plastic will be used and I believe that the contacts will be better.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Amazing work, I love it!

    One suggestion;
    Magnets give you both electrical and physical connection.
    I agree that pogo pins will help electrically, but it still needs physical retention.
    Rather than magnets, how about using 0.1" header pins? They're very simple, cheap, and give a good-enough connection both ways.

    I had an idea about moving the connections to the corners, and did a quick mockup (see image) model to show what I mean.
    1. The board is now super-easy to make, eg as a nice PCB.
    2. Most of the board connections are 2x2 female 0.1" header, only a few cents each (eg https://lcsc.com/product-detail/Pin-Header-Female-... ) and fairly strong against accidental bumps.
    3. The pieces have a single pin at each corner, and could easily be built "upside down" with the components hanging under a small PCB.

    What do you think? The only thing I am unsure of is how difficult it might be to remove one piece when it's packed in among other pieces. Maybe holes under the board allowing you to push the piece back out?


    Reply 2 years ago

    I gave it some thought before deciding between Pogo pins or header pins. The latter will clearly me more economically efficient but I think is not as easy and elegant because you need to manually press the puzzle piece and at the same time to press perfectly horizontal. If you go just a little left or right the piece may get stuck. I'm not sure about that but I think will be hard to use the game with simple pins.

    So the plan is to put all pogo pins on the motherboard and in the middle of each group of Pogo pins that corresponds to a puzzle piece to put one magnet. This way the pieces will snap in with no effort as in the original project. Magnet is not used for electrical contact but for pressing Pogos down and for keeping pieces in place. But I'm still not sure about some details, now I wait for the Pogos to come.

    But the idea to use a simple PCB is incredibly simple and efficient, thank you for that.


    Reply 2 years ago

    That's a very good point about having to insert carefully! *Short* headers do exist; they would make proper insertion a little easier. Putting little walls between the squares would also block most of the "incorrect" angles from which a block might approach.
    Another approach might be inserting spring contacts between squares, as pictured. The pieces have indents, on insertion the metal pieces both transmit electrical power and hold onto the pieces. Might take a bit of trial and error to get right.

    However! I understand that you're after self-attaching, which is definitely going to need a magnet system. :-D I'll just suggest researching the stubby or flat contact kinds of pogo pins, they come in designs other than just long and thin.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Your right, placing some walls around most of the regular pins will help insert better and can shorten the distance the pin travels inside the female pin.

    The solution with the contacts between squares as in your picture was in the original game and I wanted to implement it from the start but I could not find the right metal pieces. I wanted to make them from aluminium cans but when I realized how much manual work is involved I abandoned this solution.

    I brought from Aliexpress about 5 types of pogo pins, one of them must fit perfectly.

    You really made me think twice about this. :)) After all, regular pins are a solution. I'm not sure about how hard they are to extract and push down and if no damage cames to the pins when the extraction/insertion is not done in a horizontal plane but this should be tested. When using magnets the pice can move in any plane without bending the contacts and I think the final experience is more enjoyable but also more expensive.


    2 years ago

    Wow, Brilliant!


    2 years ago

    Awesome work! Wish I wouldve come across this before I bought the "snap circuit" kit for my nephew.


    2 years ago

    Wow! what a great idea - I can see this being an excellent tool to teach kids - passing it on to my teacher friend.


    2 years ago

    This is an amazing Instructable and product. Simply brilliant. I would add a window on non functional sides or a representative picture so you can see which component is inside.

    Eating Pears
    Eating Pears

    2 years ago

    I love your instructable! It’s fun, imaginative, educational. A great way to introduce kids to electronics. Once my printer is up and running I’m going to make it. And as a side note your instructable gave me the solution to an issue I was having with a custom light build for LEGO set.


    2 years ago

    This is awesome, reading the intro already caused a decent flashback. Thanks for that!!
    I played with a predecessor of the "building-block" educational series in the mid 60s with this: (1040) Pinterest
    Later these block oriented series came up but at that time my parents were not willing to buy the more expensive blocks for me.


    2 years ago

    Excellent! I'll definitely give it a go, when my heir grows up a bit!


    2 years ago

    Amazing work. I'd never want to give it away. :-D In your first paragraph, I think you're talking about something similar to an Elenco Electronics Lab kit (https://shop.elenco.com/consumers/75-in-one-electronic-project-lab.html)? They still make them but they're really expensive. I have a couple of vintage ones from thrift stores; they both still work so that's a testament to the quality anyway.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. It was not an Elenco like game, the game had bricks with components inside, just as I did. But the bricks made contact with lateral metal plates by pressing one another in a tight space.
    It should be much cheaper and this was my original approach but I abandoned this plan when I realized I can't find the pieces of metal I need.
    I wanted to use aluminum cans but when I realized how much manual work I need to do to cut these cans I settled for the more expensive solution.
    I tried to find a factory to make these lateral contacts but is not really my specialty, I'm not even sure I googled the right stuff...
    If this would be a commercial product this would be an efficient way to produce them.