There's a online service where one can send an envelope of glitter to someone anonymously, I thought the best way to improve that would be to make it much more personal and send someone an item they desire and then have but can't touch. We started this project at Hack3D earlier this year and now have refined the design to be more streamlined and less bulky.
What it does
Using 3D printed parts designed in Solidworks we've produced a flat-packed puzzle box solution that has a modular puzzle solution allowing up to three independent or interweaving puzzles to be solved to unlock the box. We've also generated some code allowing us to programatically generate extra puzzles at a whim to cater to user demand. We've also designed this version to be producible in a medium better suited for high quantity production of regular flat objects in preparation for a successful launch as a business.
How I built it
Building this puzzle box has been a challenge in trying to get something as small and complex as this to assemble with the correct tolerances and without overlapping parts. To help with this it was designed in a 3D CAD package and then assembled to see how all the parts would assemble and how much clearance or movement would be needed by particular parts. Then once the CAD models have been designed it has then been 3D printed and assembled.
Challenges I ran into
There have been many challenges in this particular project, primarily this comes down to two main aspects which is turning the puzzle from a drawing into a operational CAD model that can be used for printing. Additionally assembly has been problematic with a mixture of tolerances leading to large amounts of post processing.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
This puzzle is complicated to design and then even more so when the sketch is turned into a 3D model and then it creates a second puzzle layer that is harder to visualise in trying to get all of the toggles on the box without them jamming or catching on each other. It has been great that we have been able to do different puzzle designs of varying hardness.
What I learned
A huge problem with this puzzle box has been that not all the printers used have had the same tolerances for the printed parts. This practically means that for many parts it may then lead to excessive post processing labour for the components to fit and operate as intended, this time needs to be gauged against the time to wait or reprint on a printer with known tolerances. This could make the difference between an assembly time of half an hour or 4 hours.
What's next for Post-Modern Puzzle Box
An Ultimate goal would be to try to auto generate the puzzles in some fashion as this can be changed or customised for different aspects and currently is one of the most time consuming parts to design. If this could be automated it would reduce the human input into the design and make it would allow for a more economical and wider scoped business structure.