How would you make something like this?

Hi guys!

Quick question for you - how would you go about making something like this and it is even possible to do?

I have an existing customer asking if I can make these puzzles. Obviously, I said yes and now I have to figure out how to.

It does not have to be exactly like this though, but something similar would be great. The easiest way for me to do this is to use 6mm MDF and cut it on the laser, but I would like to do something with real wood if possible.

The other part of this is if it is even worth the time and effort? This one I found on Etsy selling for about $117AUD and he is cutting it on a bandsaw! Way too much effort for me…

A fine bit or putting a small gap between the pieces. I.e. exploded from the assembled state. It’s all about the planning. A good fixture that would accept roughed stock. This is how I have made the handful of game boards I’ve made.


If you want to use the animals that you cut the profile out as the animals you put back, the size ‘D’ of the cutting tool will determine the looseness of the fit. If you are going to be profile cutting animals out of your wood you will need to either glue tape to spoil board or onion skin or tab the profiles out (so they don’t start dancing around while being cut).

If you do the animals from a separate piece if not having access to a fine bit you can use v carve’s space saving Tetris style thing which will put all your animals in to the smallest area possible to save wood. it’s at the bottom of the design tab on the left (looks like a load of jumbled letters) but you will still have to consider the space between the vectors to account for your bit this is all prompted by the software anyway .


Fastest and easiest would probably be a laser cutter. Otherwise, Mike’s recommendation of using a small diameter end mill would be best; probably cut each piece out separately to retain the relief. Hope that helps.


1 Like

Thanks guys!

I think if I make the shapes very basic with rounded corners and cut them out on their own and then do another cut inside the frame for each shape if you will, using maybe a very small offset outward so they dont fit too snug, then I should be okay.

So basically I will be using more material but it should work. The laser would not be able to cut solid timber like that without burning the edges to the point you can draw with it like charcoal! :slight_smile:

MDF is a different story but that is not as durable or as nice as real wood.

Thanks again!!

I really do like the look of this and it would probably work very well. I just dont have the skills yet to do something like this and for what they will be paying, probably not worth the time that goes into something as nice a s this.

The time on the front end is an investment for sure, but after about the second or third iteration you’ll be setting the machine to run and working something else in the background. Build skill by time in practice. Start with an easy puzzle to get the tolerances right and build more and more complexity each project. This was among the first I made from a clip art graphic and using a plug in on Easel.

1 Like

That is very true. I often spend a lot of time setting up files for laser cutting and I often reuse it for other projects. This looks very good by the way. Definitely something I will be practicing over the coming holidays.