Some time ago I posted this rather rough and ready wine bottle puzzle on Instructables.
I’ve been meaning to CAD it up ever since and with the availability of the laser cutter thought it about time.
Unsure where to start, I had a play with Sketchup. After a reasonable learning curve and following a tutorial on Instructables I came up with the following:
The faces were then extracted to an SVG file using the sketchup-svg-outline-plugin and processed in Inkscape to produce a DXF for the cutter. I had some trouble getting Newlydraw to recognise the DXF on occasion, so did have to resort to an HPGL PLT file once.
I didn’t catch any pictures of my first attempts, but I had a bit of trouble as some of the pieces didn’t cut fully through in places. I was also surprised at how long the cut took – about half an hour. The inconsistent and long winded cutting is another story which I’ll blog about later.
As I found that the pieces meshed well without worrying about the kerf of the laser beam, I decided to arrange appropriate pieces adjacently such that I only needed to cut once. This involved importing the DXF file from Inkscape into a CAD package (DraftSight) and moving the pieces about. The final step was to remove any duplicate lines as the laser cutter is dumb and would still go over each twice. This was rather fiddly, and prone to a couple of mistakes. I’m sure there must be a script out there for DraftSight or LibreCAD or something which would do this for me. Even highlighting double lines would be a godsend.
Now, just a gratuitous action shot of the cutter in action. I used Newlydraw’s ‘optimum cutting order’ option which has a bit of crazy idea of ‘optimum’. It works though I found it left some of the pieces in the centre until after it had cut the whole of the outside out which is not ideal.
Some of the pieces dropped straight out:
Others steadfastly remained in place and hadn’t cut through. With judicious use of a craft knife I was able to recover most of the stuck bits:
A second attempt at a later date faired, well, differently. More stuck, but only slightly and most snapped out:
Finished (I must take a better shot of this):
Detail of the locking mechanism:
The puzzle locking/unlocking spoiler is not included.