Nail in Solid Brick Puzzle

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Introduction: Nail in Solid Brick Puzzle

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics and Aerospace Engineer. I make things out of wood and electronics and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving).

Common objects in uncommon configurations will always spike interest. In this instructable you will learn how to make and remove a nail in a solid brick ring.

This puzzle is simple and inexpensive to build. All materials can be found at your local home center for less than a dollar and can be built in a couple hours.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Materials:

  • Brick
  • 20d-40d Nail 5 1/2 gauge

Tools:

This project creates a lot of dust! Cover surfaces you don't want to dust later and wear a respirator.

Step 2: Drill Center Hole

Drill a 7/8 in. hole in a piece of scrap wood and clamp it over one half of the brick. Fill the hole will water to lubricate the drill bit. Drill the hole until the bit bottoms out. Remove the plug and drill through the remainder of the brick.

Step 3: Cut and Rough Brick

Using an angle grinder with a diamond blade, cut the brick in half and remove the corners.

Step 4: Turn Brick

Mount the ring on a roughed out mandrel on the lathe. Using the lathe tool rest, support the angle grinder using the blade guard. Run the lathe slowly until round with a diameter of about 2.9 in.

Step 5: Part Off

Using the angle grinder on its side, cut the ring 3/4 in. thick.

Step 6: Sand

Sand the exterior of the ring on the disc sander. Add a chamfer to the outside of the ring using a 45 degree piece of scrap wood.

Step 7: Drill Nail Hole

Mark and drill a hole through one side of the ring through the center with a 7/32 in. masonry bit.

Step 8: Cut Nail

Cut the nail at 1 1/4 in. from the top of the head. Using the disc sander, shorten the length of the shaft until it just fits into 7/32 in. hole through the center of the ring (should be short enough around 1 in. but do not go shorter than necessary). When in place, you should not see the cut end of the nail in the 7/32 in. hole.

Step 9: Tap

Drill and tap an 8-32 UNC 5/8 in. into the shaft of the head. Use the tail stock as shown in the next step to ensure that the threads are concentric with the shaft.

Step 10: Thread Nail

Cut a thread relief 3/8 in. from the end of the shaft with a hack saw. Using a file, reduce the size of the shaft to ~.164 in. Use the tail stock to keep the threads straight.

Test the threads between the shaft of the nail and head.

Blend the seam between the two pieces by making the edge of each of the two pieces as square as possible.

Step 11: Shine

Polish the nail to your liking. I liked the brushed finish look, so all I used is 400 grit sandpaper to finish the nail while the lathe is on.

Step 12: Solve

To assemble the puzzle, insert the head of the nail through the center of the ring. Screw the shaft of the nail into the threads of the head of the nail.

This puzzle works because of the exact inner and outer diameters of the ring. No matter if the nail is slid inside the ring being stopped by the other side or outside being stopped by the head of the nail, the seam in the nail will always be hidden.

You can turn this into more of an 'impossible object' by securing the threads with some Loctite. No one will be able to figure out how it was assembled unless it is broken. .

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    40 Comments

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    27 days ago

    Nice work Troy, this looks like some deceptively tricky lathe work!

    0
    tomatoskins
    tomatoskins

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thanks! Yeah, I'm surprised at how indicate I can be with metal on my wood lathe.

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    27 days ago

    This is awesome!

    Always so excited to see a project from you :D

    0
    tomatoskins
    tomatoskins

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thanks! Agreed, it's been far too long! It helps that the temperature in the garage is finally getting below 110 so I can get out there to tinker.

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    27 days ago

    I love these little puzzles! and the brick texture looks great with it :)

    0
    tomatoskins
    tomatoskins

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thanks! It was my first time doing anything with a brick and it definitely made more of a mess than I thought it would.

    0
    unclejoe
    unclejoe

    11 days ago on Step 12

    Nice! You could also use wood disks.

    0
    FlowSkate_YT
    FlowSkate_YT

    25 days ago

    Hi... I'm just wondering where I can get a lathe for under $1?

    0
    ProfessorJWN
    ProfessorJWN

    Reply 16 days ago

    I bought one for $5 at a flea market, nice little tabletop wood lathe. Would do the turning his did. Don't get me wrong, isn't an Atlas or anything, but it would work in this scale.

    0
    jkster107
    jkster107

    Best Answer 24 days ago

    You can try Craigslist, Freecycle, or just wait for your elderly family members to pass on tools to you. I happen to have a nice spindle lathe sitting around which my grandfather gave me years ago, but I haven't sourced a motor for it.

    You can also double check the intro where the author says the >materials< cost less than a dollar. Bricks are available in my area for 95 cents.

    0
    RichardeM
    RichardeM

    21 days ago

    "All materials can be found at your local home center for less than a dollar and can be built in a couple hours..."
    Assuming you have access to all the machinery including a metal working lathe!!

    I tired to make it using a nail and some clay in a mould ..
    The price of electricity and the fumes were areal killer!

    0
    tomatoskins
    tomatoskins

    Reply 19 days ago

    I actually used a second hand wood lathe because I can't afford a metal lathe. But this could just as easily be made with a couple hole saws and a hand drill. There are many ways to make a project. I just presented the first method that I came up with.

    0
    DisneyWizard
    DisneyWizard

    22 days ago

    Hold back the LocTite-Red when assembling as a nail and then hammer it into a column or post of your workshop about eye-level in a prominent corridor placed nonchalantly like an afterthought or quick-fix but not catch a passing shoulder. remove head of embedded nail, slip on the brick, drip a drop of LocTite-Red into the hole in the nailhead, Twist that on tight, Wipe the excess ooze (you may need to bend a q-tip) and never think of it again. Don't present it as a conundrum, just enjoy blowing their minds when they cook their noodles after initial discovery - that can be more enjoyable than cementing a quarter to the sidewalk at a bus-stop or payphone. Make it a magic trick, and use it to reveal when you point to it that their signed card is impaled then tear it off and hand it to them.

    Because shine-new is suspect, add patina such as a soak in vinegar and peroxide.

    As a magician I have several examples of similar gaffs like 5/8x10" masonry screw anchor, but the gaff is left hand threaded. a floating pin released by gravity otherwise falls into place to key the shaft to the nut.

    This would be more stunning with enamel glazed brick I have a brilliant yellow and a gold fleck blue recovered from a storefront demo.

    Reduce your labor. You spend more time brick trimming than the nail. Now you've got one, take it to your local brick kiln and duplicate your donuts. a drinking straw in the mold will hold open the nail channel until firing. . I know a puzzle shop that might order a thousand each season.

    My greatest take-away was the quick-tip "Drill a 7/8 in. hole in a piece of scrap wood and clamp it (roughly centered) onto the face of the brick. Fill the hole will water to lubricate the drill bit." That sure is a quick nifty drill dam fabrication - I had been pinching on a rolled coil of tinker's putty, which can be messy to both build and spatter when used.

    I plan to make this from a hockey puck.

    0
    digitalaudiotape
    digitalaudiotape

    22 days ago

    Grinding brick into dust with power tools is a HUGE silicosis risk. The author should put a prominent respiratory safety warning into this instructable.

    0
    auto13142828
    auto13142828

    23 days ago

    It's more difficult to construct than to solve.

    0
    gladson1976
    gladson1976

    23 days ago

    Love it when you say "This puzzle is simple and inexpensive to build. All materials can be found at your local home center for less than a dollar and can be built in a couple hours."..
    Guess everyone has a lathe, angle grinder, drill and tap lying around somewhere in the house :D

    0
    harryH83
    harryH83

    25 days ago

    cool project but it would be nice if we had a "dumbed" down version. something that does not rely on so heavy on expensive and specialized equipment. maybe start with a brick then walk through how to tap both sides of the nail and used a threaded rod or a full threaded bolt and cut the head off? make it so it can be done with a hand drill, vise and tap set. most people don't have access to a well stocked machine shop.

    don't get me wrong, love the project keep them coming but i want to see folks with limited tools make cool stuff too.

    brick.jpg
    0
    harryH83
    harryH83

    Reply 25 days ago

    you could make it even easier if you replace the nail with a bolt and connect them with a short coupling nut, however, it will be a lot harder to hide the trick. maybe run the bolt through the middle of the brick pictured above and fix the coupling nuts in place

    coupling nuts.png
    0
    bjm1950
    bjm1950

    Reply 23 days ago

    Even easier if you make the ring out of concrete.

    0
    MuzicMaker
    MuzicMaker

    Reply 23 days ago

    Firstly, the tools aren’t part of the cost of any ‘ble - this uses exactly one half brick and exactly one nail - that’s pretty inexpensive if not free. You can do this without nearly any of the pricey bits. Yes, the diamond bit and grinder are helpful, but the lathe isn’t required (it was just a plain old wood lathe too, not an expensive metal lathe). You can tap and die carefully by hand, especially if you have a vice handy, a fatter nail will be easiest. You could make the brick donut in 5 minutes with a chisel and clean it up on some 40 grit paper. With an angle grinder it’d be cake (and a donut!) I can’t think of a diamond bit substitute (but you could ask a tile place to cut it for you for less than the price of the bit) Lotsa workarounds in there if you wanted to make it me don’t have a workshop.