Three Things to Consider Before Buying a 3D Wood Puzzle

Put your engineering and building skills to the test with a modern take on the classic jigsaw brainteaser.

From crossword games to brain teasers, most kids love puzzles. For the ultimate challenge, try a 3D wooden version. They’re sort of a cross between jigsaw puzzles and a toy construction set, combining Rube Goldberg intricacy with the joy of building something that works. These three-dimensional projects teach mechanical principles, woodcraft, and lasting patience. The finished product is a display-quality art piece that will bring hours of hands-on enjoyment both during and after construction. Here are a few traits to look for in a good 3D puzzle.

A Moving Experience

Fully assembled, this model sends a heavy ball on a roller-coaster ride. ROKR

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With hundreds of pieces involved, wooden puzzles are precisely manufactured for ease of assembly. Look for components that are laser cut and don’t require any glue to connect. High-density fiberboard (HDF) and plywood are common construction materials in wooden puzzles. Both are excellent, but plywood has the edge in strength and moisture resistance.

Intricate Design

This model has laser-cut pieces. ROKR

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Wooden puzzles come in many forms, depicting everything from farm animals to spacecraft. Those that incorporate moving pieces are the most fun. This could be an abstract gear assemblage that represents nothing more than the designer’s whimsy, or fully functional appliances, such as working clocks and music boxes.

Build It and Use It

This product operates just like a real timepiece when you’re finished. Amy&Benton

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Trains, robots, scale-model cars, and other intricate designs are all available in wooden puzzle form. They are not just for kids, either. Elaborate 3D puzzles are meant to be assembled and then displayed in the home or office. Before getting started, think about what space you are going to fill after the construction fun is over.