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Rhombic Dodecahedron Box Puzzle ?

motodan's picture

Years ago in the early '80's FW had an article about making a "Rhombic Dodecahedron" box (12 sided, made up of diamond shaped pieces) that would pull apart by using an unnatural grip.  I made a few of these at the time, but have since lost my notes and was wondering if anyone had a fixture or jig,  that would hold the small(~2" x 2 7/8" diamond shaped pieces while safely cutting/machining a 30 degree chamfer on all four sides.   Heres a link to the the geometric shape that may jog your memory. 




JAurand's picture

(post #115714, reply #1 of 7)

I believe you are talking about Stewart Coffin's Pennyhedron puzzle. This link may help you:


motodan's picture

(post #115714, reply #5 of 7)

Thanks for the link.  I believe that was the article.   I use to have a lot of fun with the box.  Most people don't observe that closely and they would really struggle trying to pull it apart.

byhammerandhand's picture

(post #115714, reply #2 of 7)

Jim Cummins "Small Shop Projects" video (Taunton Press) has all you need to know to put one of these together. He shows how to cut the sides on a bandsaw using a 5 minute jig.

In a later treatise, Jim Stack has a similar, though larger version in his "Box by Box" book.

jeremyillingworth's picture

(post #115714, reply #3 of 7)

Do you of any good books or online resources for puzzle box plans?


byhammerandhand's picture

(post #115714, reply #4 of 7)

I sure can't think of any puzzle box books, but I'm more interested in the box aspects than the puzzle aspects, though.

There is a guy in Dayton, OH, that makes wooden puzzles. One of the favorite ones I saw was a cheese-box sized box with a number of different sized pieces in it. Put in one way, it completely filled the volume with no voids. Dump them out and put them in a different way and it completely filled the volume with no voids and one piece left over. A thou here and a thou there added up the the lost volume.

May not be exactly what you are looking for, but should be entertaining none=the-less.

JAurand's picture

(post #115714, reply #7 of 7)

You can find a downloadable version of Stewart Coffin's "Puzzlecraft" at There are lots of puzzles in the article, a few of them are containers, including the Pennyhedron puzzle.

motodan's picture

(post #115714, reply #6 of 7)

Thanks.  I'll have to check it out.