CNC Routed Puzzle

Looking to get a little more comfortable with the Techno Router before embarking on a real project, I decided to make a puzzle.

I chose to make a version of this puzzle. This is an image of an existing product.

One objective I had in recreating this puzzle was breaking down some of the 2.5 dimension structures to allow the pieces to fit together in interesting ways. For example, a jigsaw puzzle would be very easy to cut on a CNC milling machine, but it takes some extra thought to create a puzzle where the pieces to all come together in different directions.

MasterCAM’s preview of my first piece

Setting up the cuts was easy enough. Because of the nature of the puzzle, it was important for the joints to appear seamless. I measured the thickness of my leftover oak and sized the hole in the middle accordingly. I chose, during this process, to use my 1/4 rounded edge router bit to treat the edges of the pieces instead of squaring the inside holes or adding “dog bone” corners.

Techno router, hard at work
The last piece didn’t cut all the way through.

Cutting the pieces produced no real surprises except that the final piece didn’t make it all the way through. It was enough for me to use the scroll saw for the final 1/32″.

The pieces fit snug, but not too snug.

I then got to work routing the edges to see if they could fit together. At this point I realized how useful it is to have a 1/4″ end mill and 1/4″ radius rounded edge hand router bit. As a combination they work really well together.

Still needs sanding and maybe some kind of finish.
The pieces are maybe a little too loose. The joints reveal the solution to the puzzle.

The pieces still need some sanding and finishing, but it works overall. The one complaint I have about it is that the pieces area little loose when put together. I would work on tightening them up for v2.0.

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