Project image
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$1,226
pledged of $1,500pledged of $1,500 goal
19
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, May 12 2016 12:29 AM UTC +00:00
$1,226
pledged of $1,500pledged of $1,500 goal
19
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, May 12 2016 12:29 AM UTC +00:00

About

The Challenge

I create a wooden 2-in-1 puzzle that I challenge you to solve.  The first part is an assembly puzzle.  You have to put the pieces together so they all fit into the box.  Then, it becomes the second puzzle.  You put the ball in the top, close the lid and now it becomes a maze puzzle.  Rotate the box and try to get the ball out the bottom. Why is it unique?  That's because you have the solution right there in front of you.  As you build it, you can see the paths the ball can and cannot take.

How I Created It

When I first started, I wasn’t sure what kind of puzzle it would be. It might have some sliding pieces or it might just be separate pieces. I wasn’t sure, so I started sketching out some ideas.

Sliding pieces could become difficult and I wanted to keep it simple, so I decided to make it a block. Wood is the easiest to work with and found many places that sold wood “sticks” of various sizes and types. I decided on 3/8” x 3/8”. So I bought a bunch of supplies, including balsa wood (because it is easy to cut and work with). 

Designing the individual layers that I had to build became an immediate issue. Changing the them would require cutting and gluing a lot and that would not be very exact. So I knew I had to find a way to design on my computer. I found Google SketchUp. It was simple and free. So I did the online tutorials and learned how to use it. I started with a simple 3/8” cube, duplicated multiple times and was able to design my puzzle.

It wasn’t bad for a first attempt, but I quickly realized I had a design problem. I had all kinds of holes where the ball can fall out to keep someone from solving. When I first tried it, the ball kept falling out and I said to myself “that’s kind of annoying.” 

So I started over. This time, I made it even simpler, just one hole in the top and one near the bottom for the ball to come out. This was much better, but I found another problem. The ball kept coming out the top. I added a little flap so the ball went in but could not come back out. I consider this the completion of my first attempt at designing my own puzzle.

Now that I finished my first attempt, I started thinking about my next. My first attempt was not that simple to solve, but I wanted to make it even harder. I still had a bunch of wood and supplies, so I decided to stay with the same concept and use the 3/8” cube design and work from there. I had my “ah-ha” moment and came up with the idea of the “2-in-1” concept. I could make pieces that when fit together, form the maze puzzle. And it would be hard because the pieces do not fit perfectly together. But that would also be good because you can see the solution as you are putting it together.

I went back to using SketchUp because it made it easy to make pieces out of my design. I could take a block and move it from one piece to another without having to cut and glue any pieces. Then, when I was done, I cut and glued together all 21 pieces.

When I finished building all the pieces, I was able to put them together and form the puzzle, but I ran into yet another problem. My woodworking skills are really bad, or the tools I am using are not accurate enough because the puzzle didn’t look that good when put together. And I found yet another problem. The puzzle didn’t stay together, so I had to use a rubber band to hold it together. My intention was for this to be a very precise well-made puzzle, so rubber bands were not going to cut it. I had to build a box to put it in.

I didn’t want to invest in a saw and sander just to test this, so I decided to use my 3D printer to print the pieces instead. Once again, Sketchup was a blessing because I could export my pieces into STL files that my printer could print. I also used it to design a box and lid. When I thought about it, it made the most sense to have the top open so the puzzle could be inserted when completed, slide the lid on, and it would also keep the ball from coming back out. I printed the pieces, the box and lid, and I finally had a final puzzle design. It wasn’t in wood, but it was complete.

The puzzle seemed very difficult to me. I still have to reference the solution in SketchUp to put it together. So, I decided to create a simpler version. I took the completed design and broke up into 10 pieces instead of 21. Again, SketchUp make this very easy to do. When I was done, I printed all 10 pieces and now I have a beginner difficulty level.

I am now working on a third and even more difficult level using the same process. That will be completed before the scheduled end date of this campaign.

What I will do with the money if this campaign is successful

With the backer money, I will use it to purchase wood and other supplies.  I checked and Basswood looks like a good choice.  It's not too expensive and it's looks nice.  I will also purchase some machine equipment to help make these in larger volumes, like a sander and band saw. 

Rewards

The first level is self explanatory.  I don't like to exclude anyone, so I offer non-puzzlers to be included.

The second, third and fourth levels are all the same.  You get one final puzzle, either easy, medium or difficult (depending on which one you select).  Each puzzle difficulty will include the box and lid, a ball, and all the pieces to complete the puzzle you selected.

The fifth level is just a final copy of each difficulty level: easy, medium and difficult.  This option is cheaper than purchasing each level individually.

The sixth level is unique.  I am offering some users to become part of the “evaluation” team. These backers will get a copy of all 3 levels in prototype form to help evaluate.  I think these are difficult, but I need other opinions, and these backers get to give their input and make suggestions.  Then, when all three levels are completed, they will get a final version of each one. 

Why Kickstarter

I love to "create something from nothing."  It can be anything from websites to entire business models to wooden puzzles.  I think this is a great idea (like most inventors/designers) and I have these grand idea that I could mass produce and sell to everyone.  That's a huge risk and not one that the average person will want to take, especially when they have a house, mortgage, and kids in college.  The Kickstarter platform allows the people like me to "test the water" before making a huge commitment like that.  If there wasn't a platform like Kickstarter, there are many great ideas that would never come to fruition.

Risks and challenges

The only risk I see is a delay in delivery if I get too many orders. To help prevent this from happening, I limited all reward levels. If I reached the limit on each one, that’s a total of 80 puzzles. It might take a little longer to build them, but most of the money is going for equipment to speed up the production, so that should minimize any problems. Finally, if I do maximize the rewards, I gave myself a month and an half to complete, so that should still be within an acceptable amount of time for delivery.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Everyone Welcome: Not much of a puzzle person? Well, you can still help back the project and stay up to date with our progress.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Beginners: A great place to start - Get the beginner level and get a taste of how difficult even the easiest level is.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Intermediate: Step it up a notch - Looking for more of a challenge? Get the intermediate level. It's a good test before moving up.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Advanced: Go for the gusto - Ready to prove you can do it? Just make sure you're ready for the challenge. This will get you the advanced level puzzle.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All Three: Commit to them all - Be ready to drive yourself crazy. Get all 3 puzzle levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Eval: Join the evaluation team - First, you get to evaluate the existing designs and difficulties from our balsa wood prototypes. We will send you one of each of these designs right away. Then, you get to give your input on generating the medium level of difficulty until we get it right. Finally, when all 3 levels are completed, you get a final wooden version of all 3 puzzles.

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Funding period

- (30 days)