- 3D printed puzzles take many forms- from Rubik’s like cubes like this one on Thingiverse
- Or a more conventional 3D jigsaw picture puzzle like this one on Instructables
- Yeggi has a ton of them available, from a Honeycomb Buzzle, to a key trap conundrum
- There’s a great Reddit thread over on Mechanical Puzzles where an expert puzzle printer showed off a ton of his designs with links to plans:
As a father of two, I realized that it was difficult to find puzzles for my kids. I wanted to create a puzzle that was easy enough for them to solve and at the same time, provide a challenge for adults.
I made a 3D printed puzzle where each piece has its own unique shape and color.
I love making puzzles with 3D printers and having fun family nights solving them! It’s not hard finding free puzzle files available for download, but you can also make your own with any object or material you want!
How to make your own DIY 3D printed puzzles
The purpose is to show you how to do your puzzles in three dimensions. For centuries, people have enjoyed traditional jigsaw puzzles. Painting a picture on a wooden board and cutting it into regular or irregular pieces were the traditional methods for doing these classic puzzles.
Currently, most puzzles are constructed primarily from stiff paper or cardboard. Puzzle-solving is a fun way to improve your ability to think logically and creatively. And this is even truer for 3D puzzles!
A 2D sketch of the puzzles is used to cut a 3D model perpendicular to the XY plane (parallel to the print pad).
At first, glance, creating such a model appears to be challenging. If you’re an advanced user of one of the most popular 3D modeling tools (Fusion 360, Inventor, etc.), you can easily accomplish this task. A variety of methods exist for accomplishing this.
However, we’ll demonstrate the quickest and most universally applicable approach. Modeling tools are not required for this course. The Slic3r PE can perform most of the tasks.
1. Find a suitable source model
Almost any 3D model can be used as a puzzle model as a source model. It is best to use models that have already been flattened out. You can select from the following examples of source models:
The following 3D terrain map was created using the methods outlined in the article: Learn how to use a 3D printer to create realistic maps, terrains, and scenery. Using filament color changes for snowy mountain peaks, for example, can enhance the model.
After slicing, you can easily do this in preview mode in Slic3r PE. Color changes can be made to the right side of the screen by adjusting the slider on the right.
- We are modeling any SVG image in Tinkercad, even in black and white. Logos and signage can use this font.
- Use the Selva tool to turn a suitable image into a 3D model. See: From 2D to 3D for instructions.
- Use the lithophane tool to transform a cartoon image. The number of solid colors in the original image should be kept minimum. After processing, there is no other way to get a good result. Pre-processing your photo in a photo editor is another option. When printing, you won’t make out anything from the original photo. The lithophane picture’s depth is adjusted to ensure that the image is visible even when lit from behind. Lithophanes’ depth depends on the “darkness” of each point, which is not the same as the depth of a real 3D point.
- There are many relief plaque models to be found on the internet.
2. Import source model into Slic3r PE
Take a look at the Advanced mode in Slic3r PE (Configuration > Mode -> Advanced).
In Slic3r PE, please select the model you want to use and import it into the slicer (File > Import > Import STL/OBJ/… or drag and drop the STL file into the Slic3r window).
The model should be in the exact center of the print area; if possible, use the Place on face function to quickly find your way around the model. When necessary, you can use isotropic scaling to alter the model’s dimensions.
You can increase the model’s Z-axis size by 5-30% once you’re happy with the X and Y-axis dimensions. If you only want to make adjustments to the Z-axis, click the lock icon next to the Scale factors symbol. In this way, the aspect ratio can be unlocked.
Focus on the model’s size in the lower right corner. Observe and record the following dimensions.
3. Generate a puzzle cutter
Separate pieces of the rectangular or square base model are needed. We use a puzzle-shaped cutter model to accomplish this. Curved lines are extruded into three dimensions to create the cutter.
As a result, a solid body is created and subtracted from the original model we’re removing.
There is only one solution for this problem: create a new cutter model for every print that is used. We’ve modified an OpenSCAD script originally written by JMP to create one. Just relax; there is no need for scripting skills.
You will only be able to change a small number of numerical values. A single puzzle piece’s dimensions and size are all that’s needed to get started. If you specify a range, the script will automatically choose an appropriate size based on that range.
Such an answer may not always be possible from a mathematical point of view. The script can stretch the pieces to form a rectangle to make things easier.
4. Cut the source model using a puzzle cutter
In the second step, your source model has already been imported into Slic3r PE. The cutting process is now complete, thanks to the custom modifier. The puzzle-cutter model is subtracted from the source model by the modifier.
- The STL file with the puzzle-cutter can be loaded by selecting Add Modifier -> Load from the context menu of the source model after right-clicking.
- Step 5 is the next logical step if you haven’t adjusted the size of the source model. You may notice that the puzzle-cutter is different in size from the original model.
- Click on the object group in the right-hand column to get started (first row). The Scale factor should be set to 100 percent in all places. The original values should be noted before making any changes.
- Enter the model’s dimensions by clicking the second line in the tree below the first part of the group. This brings together the dimensions of the puzzle cutter and the model it is based on. ‘
- Ensure that the cutter and the source model are perfectly aligned before cutting. In all directions, the puzzle cutter is 2 millimeters larger.) There should be a small amount of separation between the puzzle-cutter and its source model on each side.
- Please ensure that the puzzle-cutter intersects its entire depth before cutting (Z-axis).
- Right-click the gear icon in the tree structure to add infill, layer, and perimeter settings.
- Slice now is the button to press.
- In the Preview, you have the option of changing the color of the vertical scroll bar to your liking.
The X and Y dimensions of the puzzle-cutter should not be altered in any way. As a result, it may be more difficult to disassemble the puzzle in the future.
When printing, pay attention to the first layer of the object. The individual pieces of the puzzle will be joined together if the nozzle is lowered to a low setting. It’s going to be difficult to tell them apart.
To prevent the pieces from connecting, use the Live adjust Z function. In printing, this is the most important step. As a last resort, you can set the slicer’s Elephant foot compensation to 0.04 millimeters to prevent them from connecting.
When printing on a Raft, another option is to use a Raft support layer.
Things that are difficult or impossible to produce with other methods can now be created using additive manufacturing, changing the possible landscape. Many interesting projects employ 3D printing for various purposes due to the ingenuity and creativity of the 3D printing community.
One of these initiatives is the focus of today’s post! When it comes to making and printing 3D Puzzles, we’ve already shown you how to do it from anywhere in the world. Onwards!