3d Printed Replacement Puzzle Piece




About: A mechanical engineer, instructor at Thaddeus Stevens College, and lifelong maker. Thanks Dad! A founding member of make717. Check them out at www.make717.org

My dad loves puzzles, but its always a bummer when you finish the puzzle only to find a missing piece.

His latest puzzle was a tough one that he had done several times, and he really loves the trout shaped puzzle. He wanted to frame this one but couldn't without figuring out a replacement for a missing piece. My mom was going to cut it out of the picture on the box, but the puzzle and the lid were different scales.

So I decided to 3d print a replacement and use a color printout for the image.

Step 1: Capture a High Contract Picture of the Missing Piece

I flipped the pieces surrounding the missing piece and took a picture against a black background. High contrast is required to import and create a clean shape for the next step.

Step 2: Import the Graphic Into Morphi and Make It 3D

Using the www.morphiapp.com "Sketch" tool, I imported the high contrast picture into Morphi. I then used "Transform" to get each axis to the correct size. Morphi provides an STL export so that I could slice the part for printing.

Step 3: Sliced in Cura Then Off to the Ultimaker 2 Go

You can see the part file on the build plate in Cura and then the first 2 prints. The first print was off in both X and Y axis. After the second print I just had to adjust the Y dimension by only 1 mm. 3 iterations didn't take much time at all!

Step 4: Print (2d), Glue to 3d Printed Part, and Trim

I color printed then adjusted the scale and printed the image from the lid of the puzzle.

I poked holes with a pin in the printout to create the outline of the missing piece. I held that up on a window so that light showed through the pin holes which allowed me to locate the 3d printed part exactly where it needed to be. (Sorry, I didn't document these steps with pictures).

Then I trimmed the paper to the plastic part and put it in the puzzle!

Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016

Participated in the
Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • 1 Hour Challenge

      1 Hour Challenge

    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Wouldn't it have been easier, and quicker, to just trace the missing piece outline on to stiff cardboard, cut the shape out with an Xacto knife and then glue the picture to the new piece? Don't get me wrong... you did a good job and it looks great, but still....

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    for someone much better with an xacto knife, yes. My skills in areas like that are nil, and since I have a 3d printer why not do something useful with it?


    2 years ago

    This is a great creative use of 3D printing!


    2 years ago

    Haha you could run a business off of this. everyone needs just one piece back