Building Block Community Collaboration #makeblocks

In Tutorial by

These are all cut from 1/2″ plywood. Built in collaboration with Tim Sway. Use the links below to download the original 2 make block shapes, my puzzle piece modification piece, and to upload your own mods!
■ Music by Dan & Drum:
■ Tim Sway’s video:
■ File download:
■ File share:


Build Details

So I started with the base design, which was Tim’s 2 puzzle pieces. I adapted his SVG file and pulled it into Easel to run on my CNC.

I of coarse had a piece of 1/2″ plywood that has been sitting in the corner for a couple years, just waiting for this opportunity.

I cut it down into roughly 12″ x 12″ squares.

The first piece is clamped down with a couple of hold downs and zeroed on the bottom left corner. Then it’s time to cut out a couple of test pieces.

Just sitting back and watching the robots work. While we’re here though, it worth saying that the same exact results could be achieved with a bandsaw, scrollsaw, or even a hand coping saw.

I have a couple of tabs holding in each of the pieces so I cut these free with my knife and give it a test fit.

So that’s no good, the first cut left we with ~1/16″ gap between the 2 pieces.

I figured out that it was an issue with which side of the line the software decided to cut on. I adjusted this and gave it another go.

So as you can see, it took a few tries to get it right. There were some issues with the drawing file which Tim and I figured out along with the software giving me a couple of issues, but I gave it a final go and…

Perfect! Tight enough that friction holds them together, yet loose enough that they can be pulled apart fairly easily.

This time I cut all the tabs with the bandsaw.

Time to batch some out! I fill out a full sheet with the 2 pieces.

This time I cut all the tabs with the bandsaw.

Then it’s just a matter of removing the fuzz with a light touch on the sander and also removing what’s left of the tabs with the sander.

These are surprisingly fun to play with, but I wanted more. Plus Tim challenged me to do more, so… #peerpressure?

I had a few ideas, but the one I picked to try out was creating a combination piece that looks like a puzzle piece. I edited the vector file in Inkscape and then imported that into Easel. I overlay it onto the existing pieces to make sure that it will fit together perfectly.

My little baby, ain’t she beautiful?

The piece fit and I batched out a handful to go with the rest of my set. That single piece actually adds a lot of versatility to the puzzle & building blocks.

To finish them I just use some spray poly on all sides.

Tim Jackman? Paul Sway? Be sure to check out Tim’s take on this and watch my video, both are linked at the top of the page.