Mini Tower of Hanoi

About: I'm a 4rth generation carpenter, born in Texas and raised between Texas and Kentucky. I started at age 9 age helping my father with decks and room additions. By 13, I was doing decks and framing on my own,an...

Hello everyone!

Welcome to our next instructable. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did making it. I actually made this piece a few years ago, after watching "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". I've made several of varying sizes with different disc counts. For this lesson, we will be making a travel sized "Tower of Hanoi" or "Lucas Tower". It measures 4 1/2" l x 1 1/4" w x 1 1/2" h and is played using 5 discs. This is a simple project that even beginners can do. Some very small, as in tiny, sanding will be done. So watch those fingertips! Let's get started

Tools Needed:

  • Square (optional)
  • A hand miter box and saw (cutting small parts with large tools is pointless and dangerous)
  • A table sander or beltsander clamped to a table
  • A circle sanding jig (store bought or homemade, might be my next instructable)
  • A razor knife
  • A drill press or hand drill with a sharp 3/16" drill bit

Materials Needed:

  • Wood glue
  • (1) Piece wood stock 3/16" thick x 4 1/2" x 1 1/4"
  • (5) Pieces wood stock 3/16" thick x 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"
  • (3) 3/16" D dowels x 1 1/2"

Note: Images show material,show enough to make 2 units.

Step 1: Cutting the Blanks

If you're anything like me, you can probably find most of what you need in some bucket, cubbie, or stash bin in your shop. If not,a paint stir stick will offer enough flat stock only requiring you to find a 3/16" dowel. If you use the stir stick, your material will be 1" as opposed to 1 1/4".

Now assuming you have a piece 3/16" thick x 1 1/4", we will cut lengths. I put the razor knife on the tool list because these parts are thin and can be scored and snapped if you don't have means to cut them. To score and snap the wood, make the small cuts first. It's easier to snap a small piece from a big one. Measure and make 5 marks, 1 1/4"apart. Now using the square and razor knife, score a line across the stock. Make several passes to get approximately 1/2 way through the stock. Bend the stock at the score line to "snap" the stock. Make sure and snap towards the scored face for a clean break.

If the piece doesn't "snap" relatively easy, score it a few more times. Continue these steps until you have 5 squares @ 1 1/4" and 1 rectangle @ 4 1/2". If you have the miter box you can complete this process in a fraction of the time. Also, at this time, cut 3 pieces of 3/16" dowel @ 1 1/2" long.

Step 2: Drilling

Using the 3/16" drill bit, preferably in a drill press, we will drill 1 hole in the center of each square. Draw 2 lines from opposite corners to find center. You can use a hand drill, but know the holes need to be straight. For the 4 1/2" rectangle, we will drill 3 holes. Centered on the 1 1/4" width (or 1" if using a paint stick), drill 1 3/4" from each end and also in the center of the 4 1/2" rectangle.

Step 3: Sanding the Discs

Here we sand the (5) 1 1/4" squares into 5 graduating discs. The largest finishing at 1 1/8" D, and in 1/8" increments, the smallest finishing at 5/8" D. So, when complete, you'll have a 1 1/8", 1", 7/8", 3/4", and a 5/8" disc. If you have a table sander and circle sanding jig this will be easy. I don't, so I engineered a couple brackets to hold a belt sander on its side and fashioned a table with sled to serve my needs. Hand sanding is possible, but very time consuming. There are other ways to achieve the round disc. Just watch your fingers and don't try to remove too much material at once. The smaller pieces may crack.

Step 4: Easy Does It

Take sand paper and ease all edges on the disc. Also round the corner on the 4 1/2" rectangle and ease its edges as well. Ease and "dome" 1 end of each dowel. Sand the round length of the dowel slightly to allow the disc to slide easily. Sand the inside of the hole in the disc to also help with this.

Step 5: Assembly

Using very minimal glue, place the flat end of each dowel into 1 of the 3 holes in the base. Wipe off all excess glue. On one of the outer dowels, stack the discs from largest to smallest. You are now ready to play.

Game objective: To get the stack from 1 end of the base to the other. Move only 1 disc at a time and you cannot place a larger disc onto a smaller one. Good Luck!

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