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3D Puzzle Design

Ahh yes, the joys of college – awesome people, parties, concerts, quadrangles (they are important!), problem sets, final exams, and of course, awesome prototyping equipment.  Take for example the objet 3D-Printer.  We use one in Cornell’s Computational Synthesis Lab (CCSL), where I am employed as an undergraduate researcher.  But the information sciences department also has a 3-D Printer in their Human-Computer Interface (HCI) Lab.  The Prototyping and Physical Computing Class I’m enrolled in this semester tasked us with designing a 3D puzzle to be printed on one of these machines, so that’s what you’ll see in the video after the break (and the CAD picture above).  This is my third and final design project for this class.  Check out my first two here, and here, and stay tuned for my group’s final project! You can view all my mini projects for this class on my secondary youtube channel.  The source code, schematics, and STL/CAD designs are available after the break as well!



For this project, my goal was to design a complex 3D puzzle that could double as an aesthetic lighting effect when completed. The puzzle consists of 22 pieces in total: a base, a top, eight rods, and three layers of four pieces each. Each of the layers was designed with the intent that they should be radically symmetric from a middle point, though it is possible to assemble the puzzle in any way you wish. Different assemblies will result in different lighting effects once the tri-color LED is turned on. Hollow spaces within the puzzle allow the LED light to diffuse through the material and create a glowing light once completely assembled.  Note that in the accompanying alibre design files, a ninth rod is shown in the middle of the puzzle. This was printed as a backup piece incase another rod was lost (they are quite small). In the final configuration, this rod is not used, and an LED sits in its place.


3D Puzzle LED Control Schematic


These materials are made available via a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Feel free to modify and improve upon these materials as much as you like, but share your improvements and credit myself as the original author. Please do not use these materials for commercial purposes without first asking for my permission.
Creative Commons License

Download 3D Puzzle Source, Schematics, Designs, and info

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