Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Maze Ball Puzzle Scroll Saw Pattern.

This puzzle is deceptively difficult. The goal is to move the steel balls from their start position to the center position by tilting and the disk and rolling the balls. 

The maze is eight inches in diameter. I used 1/4" Baltic birch plywood but the thickness is not that important. Use what you have available. 

One of the features that make this puzzle more difficult is that the openings in each ring get smaller. All three balls will not fit through the center opening at the same time. 

The balls used in this puzzle are 1/2" in diameter. You can buy them at the link above if you don't have an alternative. Small marbles will also work. 

One feature that I added to this prototype is the holes to hold the balls in the start position. If I were to make another one I would eliminate the holes and use a marker to indicate the start position. They interfere with the rolling of the marbles too much.

This is a very simple project to cut. I completed the entire project in under an hour. Just try to be accurate when you cut the circles. If you use 1/4" thick wood you can easily stack cut four at a time if you wanted to give a few away as gifts. 

Correction and Information:

In yesterdays rotating jewelry box post, I mentioned that I had used Ambrosia maple for the boxes. That was inaccurate. It was actually spalted maple.  A couple of readers pointed out my error but I also had several readers ask about the wood. It really is a beautiful piece of wood.

Ambrosia Maple and Spalted maple are not two different species. They are both maple that has been altered by outside influences. 

Ambrosia maple gets its discoloration from a fungus carried on the legs of the ambrosia beetle. These beetles bore into the wood causing the holes that are so prominent on the board. 

The discoloration of the spalted maple is also caused by a fungi. It is my understanding that the dark lines in spalted maple are caused when the spores from two different fungi intersect while growing on the board. The lines are called zone lines. I am getting a bit out of my knowledge base here so don't count my words. 

Several readers asked where they could buy this wood. In general, you need to find a local hardwood dealer. You will not find these boards in your big box hardware stores or many lumber yards. I have seen both of these boards in my local Woodcraft store. Woodcrafts price will be very high so beware. The board I have came from Woodcraft several years ago.

Another source for these boards is Ebay.
I do not endorse any of the sellers on eBay. Use your own judgment when selecting a seller on eBay. I have purchased many boards on eBay and never had a problem but that may not be your experience.

You are going to find large swings in the price of these boards. Highly figured spalted maple goes for around $15bf. Give or take several dollars. More figure generally means higher price. The best boards are often held back for VIP customers at hardwood dealers.  

My experience is that Ambrosia maple goes for about half the price of spalted maple. I am no expert here so your results may be different.

I keep these boards for specific types of projects. I like to use the highly figured boards in boxes and other projects that do not have much fretwork. It makes no sense to cut away the beautiful figure with fretwork. The beauty of these boards is in the figure and not fretwork.

You will see beautiful turned vases and bowls made from spalted maple. Check out some of the ones in this Google search link

Sorry for my mistake in identifying the wood in yesterdays post. The good news is that it gave me the chance to talk about these beautiful boards. 

Personalized Christmas Ornaments:

For several years I have offered personalized Christmas ornament patterns for sale. Every year the sales have been better than the year before. This year was no exception. Sales were outstanding and I appreciate it very much. 

The money I earn from these patterns goes a long way to financing what I do here at the Scrollsaw Workshop. Like all businesses, my expenses go up every year so the increase in sales is very helpful.

Now that the Christmas season is coming to an end I want to thank all of you who placed an order. 

I will keep taking orders for another week in case you have last minute orders.

One thing that happens every year is that I get requests for ornament patterns from a previous year. At the end of the season, I retire that years patterns. Once I stop taking orders they are no longer available.  

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Email Newsletter Readers: Remember that the Newsletter is just a copy of the daily blog post. To see the post in it's proper formatting click this link. If you ever misplace a pattern or any item you see here you can always find it on the blog. Everything stays on the blog forever. 

Products for your consideration:

Scroll Saw Pattern Design Tutorial: DVD
Let me teach you to create a beautiful wooden portrait pattern. I will show you everything you need from start to finish. The video will show you the free software program you can download for Windows or Mac OS. I will show you how to install the program and configure it for best results. 
Then I will show you the technique to take your photograph and make a pattern from it. When the pattern is complete we will go in the shop and cut it.
The DVD is $10 plus shipping. This is a data DVD that you will use on your computer to watch the video tutorial  

Every Scrollsaw Workshop Pattern from 2007-2017 in DVD
Purchase the entire Scrollsaw Workshop pattern catalog for offline access.

This DVD has 2,300 patterns published from 2007 thru 2017.
The DVD is $20 plus shipping. Ships to 60 countries around the world.

If you use the DVD on a Windows PC there is a simple viewer program to browse through the patterns.

The DVD also works fine on a MAC. The viewer program is not MAC compatible but there is an included PDF with all the patterns shown as thumbnails for easy viewing. 

Unique Wooden Vases:
Want to create beautiful wooden vases on the scroll saw?
My two "Wooden Vases on the Scroll Saw" books make it easy.

The books are $12 each and available for instant download after purchase. Click for Video Demonstration.

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