Introduction: Wooden Truncated Icosahedron Puzzle

About: HTMF= Havin' Too Much Fun

•This Instructable makes a laser cut puzzle as a kit you can sell or give away

•The puzzle is a Truncated Icosahedron.

If you like this project, please cast a vote for it (upper R/H corner)

•The attached file makes 8 (8.75” X 8.75”) panels

•5 with push out pieces

•1 cover

•2 description and instructions

Step 1: What Is a Truncated Icosahedron?

•This shape is associated with Geodesic Domes, Bucky Balls and Soccer balls

•Truncated Icosahedron has 32 sides:

•12 Pentagons

•There are 13 in the kit

•20 Hexagons

•There are 21 in the kit

• 90 edges / adjacent sides

•There are 92 tabs in the kit to connect all edges / adjacent sides

Step 2: Materials Used to Make the Puzzle Kit

•The panels are laser cut from 0.210 thick Maple Plywood I get from Lowes Hardware store.

Lowes will cut the 4 X8' sheets into 10 ea 18" X 24" panels that fit on the bed of the Universal Laser I use at the TechShop. This project uses two of those ten panels.

Note: The attached files assume a laser cutter with an 18" X 24" bed. If the one you use is larger or smaller, the panels in the file will need to be adjusted accordingly.

I make my puzzles at the Techshop in Chandler on a Universal Laser4

Note: The thickness is important because the square holes in each piece are just wide enough to accommodate a 0.210 thick piece of material.

Note: The puzzle can be scaled to thicker or thinner wood by making the size of the square holes in the pieces match the thickness of the wood.

•The panels / kit are then held together with round toothpicks inserted into the small (0.-77") holes in the corners.

Step 3: Panels Are Held Together With Toothpicks and CA Gel Glue

Toothpicks identified in the Materials are sized to work with holes in panels to provide a SLIGHT interference fit.

Once installed, the toothpicks are scored at the surface and broken off.

Then the ends are sealed with CA Gel Glue (superglue).

Note: The CA glue on the outside at the toothpicks is only a slight bond easily broken but sufficient to hold the kit together during transport.

Step 4: Assembly Instructions

• 5 of the panels contain the 122 pieces needed to assemble the Truncated Icosahedron

•For assembly, there are two basic / simple rules

•1) Each hexagon is surrounded alternately by three hexagons and three pentagons

•2) Each pentagon is surrounded by five hexagons

•If you put two pentagons edge to edge, you messed up (I’ve done it)

•If you put more than three pentagons around a hexagon, you messed up (I’ve done it)

•If you put more than three hexagons around a hexagon, you messed up (Yup, that one too)

Note: If you glue in a panel and then discover its the wrong panel in the wrong place, you're only OK if the glue has not dried and you can pull the panel off without damage.

If the glue has dried, its almost impossible to take a step back.

I've had to pull off panels a couple times and had to scrap a puzzle and start over at least once because I was in a hurry and screwed up.

Take your time.

Step 5: Some Assembly Tips

•Push the pieces out of the panels

•Do not get into a hurry.

•Before you glue in a panel, make sure it follows the two rules.

•Assemble no more than one layer at a time and allow the glue to dry before continuing.

•Only put glue on the outside end of the tab during assembly


•This provides some flexibility during assembly

•Tabs are 140 degrees. Actual angle between panels is:

•138.2 between two hexagons

•142.6 between hexagon and pentagon

•Don’t fret, don’t get in a hurry, it all goes together

Step 6: What It May Look Like Going Together

Note: Stand is included in file

You might notice the change in color. Yup, I screwed up and then let it dry that way.

Had to start over.

It is difficult to get all six tabs into the last piece (Not impossible but difficult).

I wanted to make this one a display piece that people could open and see inside.

Rather than have people struggle with getting all six taps to mate up, I cut three of the six in half.

(That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)

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