My youngest son solves every puzzle box I make for him in minutes. This year for Christmas, I tried to make one that'll give him a bit more trouble. I think I succeeded.
All of the annotated items were put in the box just to make noise and confuse my son's ability to open it.
Why the Don Carter coin? He was a famous bowler. My son is an avid bowler and has at least 11 perfect 300 sanctioned games.
Below are two links showing the steps I took to make the inlay cover and box itself. Turning it into a puzzle box is what this current Instructable is about.
GIFT BOX: EYE OF HORUS INSTRUCTABLE
Step 1: MATERIALS
All the instructions for how I did the inlay and constructed the box are explained in the two links at the beginning and repeated below. This Instructable will focus on how I turned the box into a PUZZLE BOX. For that, I used strong magnets, a thin metal rod and two blocks of hardwood with a 1/4" hole drilled in each which was slightly larger than the diameter of the 3/16th-inch rod.
Step 2: TOOLS
To convert the gift box into a puzzle box I used the bench sander, chisels, hacksaw, router table, drill, and scroll saw. Since making a puzzle box was the plan all along, I actually didn't assemble the gift box until after the puzzle mechanism was in place. I was going to wait until after Christmas to post this Instructable in case my son looked at it and found out the secret to opening the box, Then I noticed there is a PUZZLE CONTEST which I decided to enter. Thus this Instructable.
Step 3: THE PARTS
Before the entire box was assembled (the first picture shows all the separate parts) and the actual puzzle mechanism was made I assembled the sides.
Step 4: PUZZLE MECHANISM
Cut two hardwood blocks and drill 1/4" centered through-holes. Cut two pieces of 3/16" metal rod slightly longer than the width of the hardwood blocks. Slightly taper or round over the ends of the two rods. This will help in opening the box. Cut notches centered on the long sides of the box the size of the blocks. You want them to be able to slip in and out easily but with very little movement back and forth. These hardwood blocks will be super-glued to the inside of the cover. On each top edge of the box sides, route 1/4" mirror image grooves (dados/slots) the depth of the hole in the hardwood block (allowing the metal pins to slide easily from the block to the empty groove) and in line with the hole in the hardwood block. To determine how long the grove should be, slip the metal rod through the hardwood block protruding evenly out either side, place it in the notch previously cut in the sides, and mark where it comes to. Add the width of the magnet to one side (the short side). This is where the magnet will be super-glued and firmly hold the metal rod when the box is locked. Once everything is lined up and works properly, fill in the top of the groove with wood firmly glued in place to prevent the rod from pulling up and out when someone attempts to open the box. THE SOLUTION: To open, firmly tap the locked box in the direction of the longer grooves to dislodge the metal rod from the magnet. Voila! It opens.
Step 5: ROUTE a GROOVE
Instead of 'route a groove' I should've called it BUST A MOVE! A 1/4" groove centered on the very top edge of the two sides had to be made. As Bob Ross always said: There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Well, when routing the groove my box side exploded, ripping out some the faux brick wall which I had to repair. I was NOT happy. The blue tape was used to mark the start of the grooves.
Step 6: CUT OUT FOR THE LOCKING MECHANISM
Notches the size of the hardwood blocks were cut in each side. The magnets were super glued in place. The base was left off until the locking mechanism worked perfectly. The top of the groove was closed off.
Step 7: CLOSE THE ROUTED GROOVE
I milled a piece of wood to fit the groove and used the rod as a spacer to make sure the pins wouldn't bind. Then I glued and clamped and trimmed to fit.
Step 8: ATTACH THE BASE
Once everything worked perfectly I screwed the base to the corners of the box body with trim screws. I didn't glue. For any reason, if the box wouldn't open the screws can be removed as a last resort.
Step 9: THE DENOUEMENT
While this puzzle box might seem simple, it takes quite a forceful rap to release the metal pins from the magnets to open the box. And to confuse the process I tossed in all those loose parts to roll around and rattle.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and as usual, all comments appreciated and all questions answered.