Nicks Sticks - Mechanical Puzzle

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Project by KelSnake posted 11-08-2017 01:50 AM 2390 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was going to be a fun and challenging puzzle box right from the start, especially since I know a guy named Nick that just loves puzzles!

There were two objectives on this one. I wanted to qualify this piece to being something that would fit into my ‘Stem to Stern’ category, which simply means that every square inch of the internal volume has been taken up by the myriad of mechanical locking systems. The second objective was to lock another vintage box inside of the vintage cigar box amid all else that is going on inside at the same time. Just to be a tad sneaky there were a few knobs that were Red Herrings just to keep it all confounding as possible. I hear that there are people that like this kinda stuff, haha!

With 17 moves to open, this mechanical monstrosity is sure to give anyone the run for their money. The knobs were mainly fashioned by gluing up the colourful knobs that decorate the box. By using a simple and easy to make sanding jig I was able to round them off quickly and safely if I left the dowel part of the knob longer then 5” it was then easy to hold and spin while maintaing control of the stock knob. After that I would insert the dowel in the drill press chuck and finish sanding each one and applying finish to each of the decorative knobs. Each knob does something just a little different than the next, part of the fun of ‘flowing with the river’ creatively speaking.

The vintage box that is locked inside was sourced at an antique shop and ended up using it because it fit best. It really helps to have a few hundred vintage boxes kicking around, just sayin’. ; )

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

7 comments so far

View woodify's profile


288 posts in 1977 days

#1 posted 11-08-2017 03:00 AM

This is interesting. So do all the pegs come out or do you turn the knobs to the right position?

-- Woodify ~~

View Manitario's profile


2605 posts in 2788 days

#2 posted 11-08-2017 12:49 PM

Very cool. Would love to see more pics on how this works!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View helluvawreck's profile


30144 posts in 2772 days

#3 posted 11-08-2017 07:15 PM

This is a very creative project, is beautifully done, and will obviously be a wonderful conversation piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View majuvla's profile


11680 posts in 2773 days

#4 posted 11-09-2017 10:50 AM

Very interesting project from engineering point of view too.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View KelSnake's profile


229 posts in 1227 days

#5 posted 11-09-2017 01:08 PM

Hey thanks guys. I would love to show more pics, however I am not sure the guy who owns it has solved it yet and I wouldn’t want to put out any spoilers too soon.

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View muesli's profile


342 posts in 1414 days

#6 posted 11-09-2017 05:02 PM

Very nice project!

I wanted to see some plans and tried to visit your website, but sadly got a 403 forbidden.

-- Uwe from Germany.

View KelSnake's profile


229 posts in 1227 days

#7 posted 11-10-2017 03:22 PM

Ya, sorry guys, my site hasn’t been working the best. Working to rebuild it, for now though you can find my plans at Etsy…

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

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