Introduction: Travelling Towers of Hanoi

This is my take on the classic Towers of Hanoi game. In this version, the base doubles as a storage compartment for the pegs and the dowels, to allow for easy storage and transport.

I used scrap wood I had lying around (pine and tri ply), but I'm sure you could make this out of anything from MDF to a noble wood.

I've attached a small SketchUp plan and a PDF version to show the dimensions of the cuts (all in mm). Let's get building!

Edit: I've just realized that all my dimensions are off by a factor of 10. Simply disregard the extra "0" at the end of each notation. Sorry for that!

Step 1: Top and Side Panels

Using the dimensions in the plan as a reference, cut the top, bottom and side panels.

You'll notice that the bottom panel is slightly thicker (150mm) than the top (100mm). This was in part due to the fact that I had a thicker piece of wood lying around, but also because I wanted to use it as a base to "fix" my dowels properly. More on that later.

Step 2: Cut Your Round Pegs

I used a scrap piece of plywood that I had lying around to make the pegs.

First, I masked both sides of the sheet with masking tape to minimize splintering. Then, I fixed the sheet to my work table with clamps. I used my trusty hole saw to cut seven discs of different, progressively larger, diameter. The diameter of the discs turned out to be from 15mm to 60mm. There is (mathematically), no limit to how many discs you can play with, but most desktop sets include 7 to 9 discs. As this is intended to be for my (young) kids, I left it at seven.

After cutting your pegs, stack them up and roughly measure the height of your "tower". You will need this to calculate the length of your dowels later on.

Lastly, sand each disc down to remove any left over splinters and achieve a smooth face.

Step 3: Optional Step: Get Your Kids to Help!

While you're busy putting together the rest of the toy, get your kids to join in on the action and let them paint the pegs to their liking.

Step 4: Attach the Sides

Use wood glue and clamps to fix the side boards to your base.

When they're dry, nail four 25mm nails (one on each corner) to fix the side boards to the base.

Step 5: Measure and Drill Your Holes

Dry mount the top board to the constructed unit to check for fit and alignment. Once everything seems to be alright, measure and mark the three holes on the top face according to the plans.

Measure and mark the inside bottom face and drill with a 6mm (1/4") bit to 5mm depth. I used the thicker board for the base so I could drill these 5mm "seats" for the dowels later on.

Drill through your top face in the corresponding spots with the same 6mm bit.

Finally, fix the top panel with glue and four 25mm nails (one in each corner).

Step 6: Cut and Fix the Back Panel

In order to make this transportable, we need to close off at least one of the ends.

I used a bit of 3mm (1/8") plywood I had lying around. I used masking tape to prevent splintering and actually cut this with a box cutter. The wood is so thin, you don't really need to nail this down, I used glue and four staples to set it in place in the back of the box.

Step 7: Cut the Dowels and Enjoy!

I cut three pieces of 6mm (1/4") dowels to a length of 170mm each. This was enough to fit through the top plate and embed in the "seats" we made for them earlier. This prevents the dowel from moving around when the game is in use.

You're done! When you want to put the game away, simply remove the dowels and store them, along with the pegs, in the cavity of the base.

We painted the box in red to go with the pegs my daughter painted.

Enjoy playing!

Step 8: Rules of the Game

EDIT 13 Feb. 2018: The goal of the puzzle is to move all the disks from the leftmost peg to the rightmost peg, adhering to the following rules: Move only one disk at a time. A larger disk may not be placed ontop of a smaller disk.