Introduction: Three Dimensional Maze

Tired of solving the same boring mazes over and over again? This 3D printed maze will have you thinking in three dimensions! Based off a childhood toy, this game will (hopefully) have you stumped for hours. Not hard enough? Now you can design your own interchangeable parts for ultimate enjoyment.

The goal of the game

Each side of the multidimensional puzzle has a starting square. You must navigate a ball through a series of corridors and tunnels to get from one checkpoint to the other. Once you've completed the task, your ball is already set to make the journey back to its original square.

Make sure to check the attached images for additional notes!

All attached STL Files are formatted in millimeters

Step 1: Design

To create the layout of my maze, I plotted a rough draft of one side onto a piece of graph paper. Once I was happy with the design, I digitally recreated the sketch in Adobe Illustrator. I decided that this side would be the top of the maze.

After finishing the first side of the maze, I printed the pattern and began to plot the paths for the second side that would connect all of the separate slots that were previously planned on the first side. During this planning phase, it was important to ensure that all of the slots would be accessible by the ball bearing and that there would be no closed loops within the maze.

Once again I digitally replicated my design for the second side and marked the locations of the holes connecting each slot.

Step 2: Modeling

With the digital drawings complete, I designed a grid that I could eventually convert to a .SVG file to use in creating my 3D model. I then, using the new grid, proceeded to create three separate .SVG files: one for the top maze, one for the bottom maze, and one for the middle divider that would contain the tunnels (holes) to allow the ball to pass from one side to another.

I then separately imported each file into my CAD software of choice and extruded the main components.

Finally, I created a simple enclosure to contain the three pieces as well as the two panes of Plexiglas.

Step 3: Materials

The following Items will be needed to complete this project:

  • Access to a 3D printer
  • 3D printing filament: two colors is recommended.
  • Two 6" x 6" x 0.05" panes of Plexiglas
  • A 5mm ball bearing
  • Glue to adhere enclosure

To cut Plexiglas to size, score both sides with a blade along a designated cut line. Once there are deep groves of either side bend the material until a clean break is achieved.

Step 4: 3d Printing

For this project, I used a Creality Cr 10 3D printer.

While the parts might look simple enough, the print time for each side of the maze surpassed eight hours each due to the high number of walls.

I would suggest using skirts to lock down the more complicated parts and prevent any shifting.

Clean the prints and ensure that there is enough space for the ball bearing to pass through all gaps.

All necessary STL files are linked below.

Step 5: Assembly

The actual assembly process is super easy. First, ensure that all the pieces are properly aligned with a start and finish square on opposite corners of the maze. Each of the five panels should easily drop into the printed enclosure with the top piece of the case snugly resting between the pegs of the main body.

The diagrams provided in step two can be used to check if all the pieces are in their proper orientation. Each diagram is viewed top down.

Order of parts from top to bottom:

  • -top-
  • MazeCase2.stl
  • Plexiglass
  • MazeTop.stl
  • MazeHoles.stl
  • MazeBottom.stl
  • Plexiglass
  • MazeCase1.stl
  • -bottom-

Once all of the pieces are in place (don't forget the ball bearing), the two bodies of the case can be glued together to prevent anything from falling apart. If you are looking for a less permanent solution, a few strategically placed pieces of tape can be used as a substitute.

Step 6: Play!

The objective of the maze is to get the ball bearing from one corner to the opposite corner on the opposing side of the maze. Once you've found your way across you're all ready to puzzle your way back to the start!

Step 7: Files

All five of the attached STL files are formatted using the metric system (mm). Good luck!

7/10/2019 - MazeHoles.stl file updated to correct conversion error in object height

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