The Electro-Pyramid Puzzle

About: Me and My Dad's YouTube channel is about creating secret/puzzle furniture in a fun and interactive way. We thoroughly enjoy working together and hope to create many more projects in the future that will hope...

When I first approached dad about building this thing, he looked at me like I had just stepped off of the crazy train from Moron Mountain! Keeping this in mind, I did my best to explain to him my idea on Tinkercad and how it would function which seemed to ease his mind a little bit. While you might not want to create your own puzzle pyramid, this instructable should be able to help you come up with some rough plans for your own pyramid-like structure.

Step 1: Tutorials

If you are truly curious as to how we built this thing, then these two tutorials should give you some more in-depth knowledge into how it actually works. Part 2 will be coming out next week so stay tuned!

Step 2: Maze Lock 1

Since we had never built a pyramid before, we decided to start by building our largest internal mechanism first. This maze lock is fairly simple and is run by a child lock on one end and is activated by a 3 mm. magnetic bearing. We used our router to carve out the channels of the maze and made sure to use a piece of 1/2" plywood to prevent the wood from tearing around tight turns. Also, we added a piece of plexiglass to the top so that if the puzzle is turned upside down, the sphere will remain in the maze.

Step 3: Framework

After we got done making the maze, we moved on to creating the frame so that we would have a benchmark for the rest of our locks. The side portions of the pyramid were made out of four 1/2" trim pieces that each had a 50-degree angle on each end while the bottom square pieces were cut to the size of the base of the pyramid. Since the only portion of the puzzle that was designed to come off was the bottom, we cut our base to fit on the inside of the pyramid so that it could easily drop off from the rest of the puzzle.

If you want to get super specific and get the tip of your pyramid to come to a full point you might have to mess around with some compound angles on all of your trim pieces. We kept it simple though and had our corner pieces meet up at the top and form a square.

Step 4: Combo Lock 2

This next lock is simple but can be somewhat tricky if you don't know the solution. The main mechanism is merely a ripped 2x4 that we cut into 3 segments with slots so that the user will have to sequentially figure out which way to turn the peg key for its release.

Step 5: Bearing Lock 3

Looking back at this lock, we realize that it was kind of juvenile. The way that it's designed to work, is that a small bearing is placed in a divot located on the end of a peg. This peg is then inserted into a block with a hole on the side and on the top. The bearing then prevents the peg from being pulled out unless it is turned to the side allowing the ball to drop off.

The reason we say it was juvenile is because if you think about it, it's really no different then a turn peg lock. Both require some sort of rotation to unlock them and nothing more. So really, we just made an easier version of a lock we have already made.

Step 6: Plasma Divider

One aspect that we wanted to incorporate into this puzzle was the aspect of electromagnetic waves being able to activate a fluorescent light bulb without the use of any external power sources (here's a link to some people who do a great job of explaining how this phenomenon works: Click Here )

In order to make use of this concept, we had to block out any additional light from the plasma ball so that only the light from the bulb would be illuminating the maze. The best way that we figured would help us solve this problem was adding a dividing wall with a section cut out of it so that we could slide the light bulb through and get it closer to the plasma ball.

This piece was fairly simple to make and only required us to cut a small piece of 1/4" plywood with angles on the side so that it would fit between the plasma ball and the maze section.

Step 7: Sides

Now the easiest way that we found to form our sides, was by laying our framework on the paneling of our choice, tracing it out, and then cutting it on the bandsaw. We didn't get this right on our first go around, so feel free to check tutorial 2 if you want to see our big goof......

One thing we did to make the side panels look more weathered and worn, was scarring them on our belt sander. Normally you wouldn't want to gouge out your wood with a sander, but in this case, it was good because it gave the whole pyramid a more sand-weathered red texture that really stands out when you see it in person.

Step 8: Attaching the Plasma Ball

Depending on the type of plasma ball you purchased, you might have to attach yours differently. But for us, all we had to do was screw the ball to the base of the pyramid and then drill an access hole below the power switch.

Step 9: Light Bulb Plunger

Now we just didn't want our users to merely turn on the plasma ball and have the light bulb already fully lit. This would kind of defeat the purpose of the bulb. So what we did instead was attach the plastic end of our bulb to a dowel with a hose clamp. We then added some 1/4" blocks to the inside and outside of the wall located on the maze side of the pyramid for stability. Then we screwed some stretchy springs to the inside wall giving us some tension on the dowel whenever it is pressed inward.

Step 10: Ball Re-Entry

It was at this time during the build that dad and I decided to try and test the puzzle out to see if it actually worked. Much to our chagrin however, we realized that as we were trying to lock the rotational bearing lock, that we had absolutely no way of re-inserting our bearing into its slot.

To solve this problem we had to make an angled wooden block with a hole in it that leads directly to the access point of the bearing lock from the outside.

Step 11: Trim and Cover-Ups

Like any good puzzle, it just isn't complete without some good trim to cover up all of your nasty mistakes (;

Ours were mainly made out of 1" cubes that we planted all over the pyramid in a random pattern. Any of the holes or access points that we wanted the users to make use of were covered up with a rotational cube that had a screw placed in the top-hand corner.

For the combo locks, we simply glued and nailed some cubes on to the backside of the pegs.

Step 12: Aesthetics

All of the details that we added were done with both our woodburning stylus and blow torch. We're not sure if we made the right decision on the aesthetic design, but I think it turned out pretty well.

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