Introduction: Secret Rolling Ball Maze Puzzle || Challenging
Remember those old ball maze toys that you would get in goodie bags and pinatas? No? Me neither.
So today I decided to make some of my own ball maze puzzles, but with a certain twist. You cannot see the ball or the maze...
Though it sounds a bit dumb, in fact I have found it much more difficult and entertaining than other ball mazes, probably because it simulates a real maze more accurately. You do not have a bird's eye view and you have no idea where you are, and for that reason, you have to rely more on your memory and senses in order to make your way through correctly. This makes it seem a bit tedious and even impossible at times, but trust me, with a bit perseverance and time you will find a way out, and when you do, you will feel unstoppable.
- PLA Plastic
- Acrylic Paint OR Permanent Marker
- 3/8 in. Metal Ball/
Step 1: Design the Puzzle (Fusion 360)
The trick for this part is to not pay too much attention. That way, your puzzle will turn out not only more random and unique, but it will also be harder to solve by you, the creator.
These are the steps that I took to create this puzzle (picture order):
Step 1: Establish a circular grid system. Make several "rings" on the xy-plane, then sketch circles on the z-axis to connect them. Additionally, you also probably want to create lines which can serve as dead-ends.
Step 2: Revolve the rings. This can be done about the origin point.
Step 3: Extrude the previous sketches. Randomly select different circles on the z-axis and "dead-end lines" in order to create your maze. To make it more tricky you can add back tracking and many blocked paths.
Step 4: Create the entrance/exit pathways. These can be extruded from the original grid system.
Step 5: Revolve the final maze shape. It can look anyway you want, but there should probably be ample wall thickness if you want your maze to be robust.
Step 6: Subtract the maze from the final maze shape. This will leave you with a hollow impression through which the ball can easily pass through.
Step 7: Add decorations. I simply added some grip/texture around the edges, as well as an arrow pointing from the entrance to the exit, in order to confuse potential solvers.
Step 2: Print the Puzzle (CR-10)
This is the easy part. Just sit back, relax, and watch your maze be printed. Unless, of course, you don't want its internals to be spoiled.
These are some tips:
1. Avoid stringing at all costs. It will keep the ball from rolling around inside.
2. Avoid support material. It should be able to print without it.
- .2 mm Layer Height
- 60 mm/s Speed
- 200 C Temperature
Step 3: Paint the Puzzle
This is a non-required step. For this part, you can do whatever you wish. I simply used a permanent marker to highlight the entrance/exit of the maze, as well as the arrow that passes between them, but you can get much more creative than that. Some ideas off the top of my head: doodles, aliens/ufos, just to name a few.
Step 4: Solve the Puzzle
I cannot give many tips for this section because that would ruin the experience. However, I can suggest several things. First of all, pay attention to the center of mass of the maze, if you have a heavy metal ball, you can tell its location quite easily using this method. Also, listen to the ball moving around the maze, it can tell you if there is a dead-end or whether or not the ball can move. Lastly, if you are really stuck, you can "cheat" by putting the maze up to a light source. In most cases, the light can pass through and reveal to the interior of the maze and the location of the ball. Use at your own risk!
Anyways, I hope you like this little, print-in-place maze contraption, and please vote for me in the puzzle contest.
(the STL file is included as well)
Participated in the
Puzzles Speed Challenge