Matchbox Puzzle



Introduction: Matchbox Puzzle

About: I like to design and build random things.

This is my take on the classic matchbox puzzle designed by Oskar Van Deventer. It consists of five boxes and five drawers. The parts are bonded together to make five assemblies. The goal is to arrange the assemblies so all boxes are filled with drawers. To add an additional step, I included magnets to the boxes and drawers. Besides giving it a nice snap feel, the magnets add an additional challenge since you must match polarity (some drawers won't slide into boxes). Lastly, the magnets hold it together during and after assembly which turned out to be a nice feature.

The STL files are included in the last step.

I've attempted to show the solution in the steps but watching these videos will probably help.


  • PLA Filament
  • Super Glue
  • Magnets (5mm x 2mm) x 10

Step 1: Parts

You will be printing 10 parts. I didn't feel like changing filament so I only printed in two colors - red for drawers, green for the boxes. I suggest using tape or dots to identify the boxes (A - E) as you build.

Step 2: Magnets

5 mm by 2 mm thick magnets are used for locking the pieces together. The holes in the pieces are sized for an interference fit so a punch or other object needs to be used for installation. Unfortunately, this step takes time/thinking to get the magnet polarity correct. The animated GIF in this step shows how the polarity controls the drawer in the box. I strongly suggest you look at the solution before adding the magnets or you will be reprinting parts.

Step 3: Attachment

As you will notice in the next step, each part has unique alignment features. Apply superglue to the joint and apply pressure.

Step 4: Assemble Pictures

In case something goes wrong, I've included pictures with alignment dimensions as an aid.

Step 5: Ready to Solve

You are now ready to assemble. Again, labeling the parts (A-E) before you start helps with the solution.

Step 6: Solution - Step 1

I understand there are a few ways to solve the puzzle. This two-step process seems like the easiest way for me. Assemble B, C & E as shown. Note that the magnets should snap the parts together.

Step 7: Solution - Step 2

Assemble A and D as shown.

Step 8: Final Solution

Mate the two sections together. All done :)

Step 9: STL Files

The 10 parts are included in this step. I printed in PLA with a 50% infill and no supports. I've also included assemblies for those that want to try to print all at once - supports will be needed. Note that you can build the puzzle without magnets. I've included a dummy STL file that takes the place of the magnets in case you want to fill the holes.

Step 10: Photos

I'm very happy with how it turned out. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for viewing!

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