Pinwheel Box

This is the first puzzle box I considered selling. It was made in may of 2000. I made only two and sold one for 1500$ US.

When I built this box I knew I had the ability to make other boxes. I still consider this to be one of the most difficult designs I have ever undertaken. It is also the only design I made where I use metal. There are metal screws securing the wooden panels to the sides.

There are twenty-four separate sliding panels. Each panel slides in a different direction at a 45-degree angle to the sides of the box. Four panels will move simultaneously, compressing the hole in the middle. Each side of the box must be moved in this way in sequence to unlock the lid.

To prevent the box from binding in humidity, I manufactured my own plywood out of maple veneers. This took me a whole summer to do!

The first prototype I made from oak. I learned a lot about how wood swells in humidity from this! The oak pinwheel box no longer moves!

The second pinwheel box was made from mahogany scraps I salvaged from a furniture shop in Los Angeles, where I was working at the time.

A special thanks goes to Mike Fair, Tom Williams, and John Watkins.

The Pinwheel Box unlocked.

The first prototype. (oak)

The second prototype. (mahogany)

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