Okay...this doesn't even remotely fit the robotics theme of the site, but it's a weekend project/gift for a family member. The only rule at my family's gift exchange this year is that the gifts have to be "made". For me this is an excuse to kill a weekend with arts and crafts. I started with the idea of duplicating the brain teaser puzzle below.
Well that one was easy enough to make...unfortunately it's not as colorful as the original (couldn't find that kind of rope). While looking online at similar wooden brain teasers I saw a picture of a small wooden box. As it turned out the box had a maze inside with the intended goal of getting a small ball through the invisible maze. I was hooked. So I went back to Lowe's grabbed what I needed and got to work. It has some weird dimensions because I had the guys at Lowe's cut the top and bottom before I really had anything designed (I wish I had a table saw...). I've always loved drawing mazes. The one inside this is fairly simple, but any maze is difficult when you can't see it. When I got home this is what I designed (in SketchUp again...).
After getting it all drawn up and dimensions figured out I went to cutting all 42 of the maze pieces (haha...42...totally unintentional). I then sanded off the edges, laid out a grid on the bottom board, placed all the pieces, glued them on and got ready to put the top on.
After gluing the top on I stacked ~60 pounds of books on it and let it sit overnight. Then I did some experiments with the stain I bought and some Sharpie markers to figure out if I needed to stain before putting a design on it (to prevent bleeding)...I did. After more sanding and one coat of stain I decided to draw a Celtic knot on the top. I've done quite a few of these on paper before. I was pretty nervous to do it on wood because it has to be inked and that's a lot more permanent on wood. But I followed the steps I always use and was very patient and careful. I managed to get it done without mistakes in just under 4 hours. So it's done now (with several more coats of stain to seal the design) and I have to say it looks pretty damn good. Shiny.The pictures don't do it justice (I really need a real camera) my phone just isn't good enough. I hope the gift is well received...and not too hard to solve :).