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Picture of Caged Golf Ball Puzzle
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A burr puzzle, also known as an interlocking puzzle, consists of notched pieces of wood, plastic or metal that when put together creates a three-dimensional shape. The burr puzzle shown here is a modified version that was part of a prize pack from Instructables for a puzzle contest I entered a while back. The difference in this puzzle is the scale. The original puzzle trapped a small red ball. All parts for this puzzle were scaled up in order to trap a golf ball. Besides being readily available, I thought the golf ball would make a nice conversation piece.

For the build, I collaborated with Kevin from Kev’s Woodworks. Note that Kevin is 2000 miles away from me so all communication was through email. We both worked from my drawing but didn't discuss how we would approach the build.

As you will see below, this puzzle is pretty easy to build. The build from my part was documented with pictures. Kevin took it a step further and recorded his steps as shown in the video below.

I've also include 3D print files (step 12) for anyone that would like to print the puzzle. With that, I will give an Instructables premium membership for the first person that 3D prints this design and post a picture of it in the comments. Note that I'm not sure the slot widths will work on all printers. Therefore, I suggest you build two pieces and guarantee fit before proceeding to the entire build.

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Tools:

  • Table Saw
  • Router Table
  • 3/4" Router Bit
  • Tape measure or calipers
  • Pencil

Materials:

  • Wood - 1x6 by 12" long
  • Paint, Stain, or Clear Finish (optional)
MarkSanders6 months ago
Great puzzle. The interlock is hard because of the straight cuts, sharp corners and the need to rotate into place at an angle. It may not be necessary, but one might taper the interior edges to allow for the curvature needed to turn the pieces in place?
mtairymd (author)  MarkSanders6 months ago
Thanks. Yeah, I thought about chamfering the corners but all the pieces need to be fairly tight or the puzzle will fall apart in your hands. Notice in the video that I'm being careful during the early steps.
KieuQuangHai6 months ago
It seems it's too hard for me :(
phillipmilks7 months ago
Got this response to a download request : {"error": "Sorry, we couldn't find that one!"}
This is a known issue that is actively being addressed by the site's engineer team. We're hoping to restore functionality of the download-as-PDF button very soon.
daharrold7 months ago
I did not see the stl files in step 12 so I used the drawings and designed my own using 3D builder from Microsoft. I enjoyed the process of designing, printing, and putting it together. Took me about a day from start to finished. Thanks.... :)
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mtairymd (author)  daharrold7 months ago
Thanks! I’m not sure what is going on...they show up for me. However, others were having problems downloading the pdf...could be the same issue. Anyway, your print looks good. Did you have any issues with fit? Check your inbox for the code.
I had a little issue with fit, but overall it worked well. Thanks
PicoBarron made it!6 months ago
Printed on Cocoon Create 3D printer Grey PLA
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TheRammer made it!7 months ago
Used a 4"x12"x5/8" scrap board for a scaled down proof-of-concept as wanted to know how much slack was really needed. Also, tried adding a key piece for easier assembly/disassembly instead of the coordinate motion. Lost one piece due to a router table mishap, but now comfortable with my production method. After mishap, I clamped remaining pieces sandwiched between two dummy ends and made all center slots in one cut. My POC had too much room for golfball - again, my mistake. Thanks, John! --BCR
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mtairymd (author)  TheRammer7 months ago
Nice job! BTW, I messed up twice as well!
I really like to make puzzles but this is another Instructable that I am unable to download. I guess I'll try again another day. Too many errors lately. Nice work, thanks for submitting it.
Hi there,

The PDF Download feature simply formats the existing content of the Instructable into PDF format for offline use, and does not contain any additional plans or information on top of what already showing in the Instructable.

The ability to save the project and easily print it is a feature that many readers appreciate. However, this function is currently not working properly and is being worked on by the site's engineers, and a fix will hopefully be in place soon! : )
mtairymd (author)  Too Many Projects7 months ago
Thanks. Hmmm...you are the second person to comment on that. Have you contacted the admins?
BrianM557 months ago
I am unable to download your instructions. I am getting an error message to say the site is not available. Would really like to be able to download this one.
seamster BrianM557 months ago
Hi there,

The PDF Download feature simply formats the existing content of the Instructable into PDF format for offline use, and does not contain any additional plans or information on top of what already showing in the Instructable.

The ability to save the project and easily print it is a feature that many readers appreciate. However, this function is currently not working properly and is being worked on by the site's engineers, and a fix will hopefully be in place soon! : )
mtairymd (author)  BrianM557 months ago
Do you need the 3D files or a PDF of the instructable? I could email them to you, PM me if you can't get it working.
BrianM55 mtairymd7 months ago
PDF would be great thanks
mtairymd (author)  BrianM557 months ago
Ha...I just tried. I can't download it either! I will write the admins.
chuckyd7 months ago
That is a great puzzle. However, you used the weak axis of the wood for your material. It would be much more durable if the long grain of the wood were turned 90 degrees.
mtairymd (author)  chuckyd7 months ago
Thanks. Yep, I agree.
norskcamp7 months ago
I am excited to make these for Christmas gifts for my family of golfers!

Thanks for sharing!
mtairymd (author)  norskcamp7 months ago
Thanks! I was thinking the golfers would like it as well...nice conversation piece :)
Kink Jarfold7 months ago
I've got a son who solves my puzzle boxes in a snap. something like this not only looks nice as a gift but looks puzzling to solve--which is a plus. -Kink-
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mtairymd (author)  Kink Jarfold7 months ago
Thank you. I also appreciate the artwork :).
KevsWoodworks7 months ago
Thanks for including me in this build! Was actually pretty quick to do and they'll make awesome gifts!
mtairymd (author)  KevsWoodworks7 months ago
You are welcome, It was a pleasure working with you!
stoneys487 months ago
I'm a big puzzle fan, and will have to try these. My only concern is the wood grain orientation. I'm afraid they will snap easily with my crew of puzzlers "forcing pieces". Just a few extra steps to get the grain running lengthwise should do the trick! Great instructable!
mtairymd (author)  stoneys487 months ago
That is a good point. I've actually had pieces break on other puzzles from rough handling/frustration. Although this puzzle is upscaled (.75" x .75"), it could still break if you applied too much force to get the insert. Notice in the solution video that I had to keep working it to get the top/bottom to insert.

Yes, extra steps (rotating the board) would have solved this problem. That was me being lazy :).