This is a fun puzzle that is pretty easy to build. The goal is to have all the pins line up in a horizontal manner. The pins are different lengths and the holes in the base are of varying depths. In addition, there is a slant to the base which adds another level of deception. This project took about 2 hours to make and cost less than $5. Note that I'm not the originator of the puzzle. Similar styles are shown on the Creative Craft House website.
Step 1: Tools/Materials
- Miter or Table Saw
- Drill Press
- 13/16" Spade Drill Bit
- 2x4 by 9" long
- 3/4 Wood Dowel x 24" long
- Stain/Paint (optional)
Step 2: Drawing
You will be building to this drawing. The parts are color coded for easy reference.
Step 3: Cut 2x4
Start by cutting the 2x4 to 9" long.
Step 4: Drill Holes
Measure and mark the center of the holes as shown in the drawing.
I used 3/4" dowels for the puzzle so the clearance hole is 13/16". This fit is a little loose but allows for paint or polyurethane if you go that route.
Using a drill press, drill the holes to the depth shown. I chose 1/4" increments for the varying depths. My spade bit has a tip that goes about 1/2" below the flat section of the hole. Since I didn't want breakout, this limited my max hole depth to 2.75".
The incremental pattern is arbitrary but must be matched to your pins. If you change the pattern, keep in mind that the chamfer (next step) reduces the final hole depth. Therefore, don't add your shortest holes to the low point of the base.
Step 5: Chamfer Base
Use Miter or Table saw to add a 5 degree chamfer as shown.
Step 6: Pins
Cut 3/4" dowels to the lengths shown. The colors are just for reference. If you decide to go with a single color/stain, think of way to document the solution. One option is to add numbers or letters (not actual order) to the top or bottom of each side and have a reference code sheet.
Step 7: Sand and Finish
Break all sharp edges by sanding. Finish as desired. I used oak stain for the base and painted the pins yellow.
Step 8: Solution
If you built everything to the drawing, the pins should line up horizontally as shown. My version is pretty easy for me to figure out since I know the shortest pin (red piece) goes on the right side of the base. With that, I know everything the other pieces must meet this height which is just trial and error.