Circular Maze With Living Hinge Walls

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About: Mad scientist, graphic designer, mechanical drafter, sci-fi geek.

A wooden maze with straight walls is easy to build. You just use rectangles for walls and make all the turns 90 degrees. You can easily cut these out on a table saw. But what if you want a maze with curved walls? How do you bend the wood?

One way to do this is with living hinges. A living hinge is a pattern of parallel cuts in a piece of wood that make it flexible. In this Instructable I'm going to show how I make a circular maze with living hinge walls.

Step 1: Cut Your Parts

To create the maze I used a combination of Autodesk's Fusion 360 and Adobe Illustrator. I used a laser cutter to cut out the parts. I have attached .svg and .pdf versions of the files to this Instructable.

You can see from the photo how a piece of wood goes from inflexible to flexible with the addition of the living hinge cuts.

Step 2: Glue Maze Pattern to Base

I cut 2 circles. One with the design of the maze cut out of it and one plain one for a base. Glue them together to form the floor of the maze.

Step 3: And in the Living Hinge Walls

In Fusion 360 I was able to select a section of a wall and measure the length of the curve. This allowed me to figure out how long of a wall cut for it. Match the wall pieces in the attached files to each of the curves in the maze. My laser wasn't able to cut the outside wall as one piece (to big) so I broke it into 2 pieces.

Add some glue to the maze grooves in the floor of the maze and then press the living hinge walls into into the groove. The living hinge will also stretch as well as curve so you can pull it if you need to fill in bit of a curve. I had to trim a few pieces with a knife to make them fit.

Step 4: Add the End Caps

Where a section of the maze comes to a dead end you will need to add an end cap. Since this is just a straight wall you don't need to add a living hinge cut to these. You can just use a rectangle to fill it in.

You maze is now finished. I added a 1/2" wood ball to mine to roll around in it.

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    7 Discussions

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    vbanaszak

    6 months ago

    What a fun game! I wish I had the ability to do that.

    1 reply
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    geordie_hvbanaszak

    Reply 6 months ago

    I started out renting time on a laser cutter at a Maker Space. If you have one near you, you should check it out.

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    jott_1

    Question 6 months ago

    What type of wood did you use?
    What was the thickness?

    1 answer
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    geordie_hjott_1

    Reply 6 months ago

    I use 1/8" thick plywood. It cuts nicely and is pretty sturdy.

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    Alex in NZ

    6 months ago

    This is amazing. Your use of multiple layers to give a solid base plus holding for the walls is really nice. Thank you for sharing this :-)

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    Arc Light

    6 months ago on Introduction

    This is great and reminds me of the vintage puzzle called "Pigs In Clover". Just google that name and you can see the vintage puzzle. The interesting thing about the vintage puzzle was they added several balls to the puzzle and the solver had to guide all the balls to the center, with multiple balls it adds a more difficult challenge.