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August 29, 2007

DIY Birthday Gift (a.k.a. Nail Puzzle)

Hypothetical situation: Let's suppose tomorrow is your friend's birthday and you forgot to get him/her a present. Also, let's assume you have no money whatsoever, all nearby stores are closed and he/she doesn't like things that come from the garbage.

What to do?
(a) You don't give him any present at all (second best option).
(b) You make a gift yourself (best option).
(c) You go into exile.

I chose "b". Below, instruction on how to make a quick and nice puzzle.

  • 19 big nails
  • a piece of wood
  • hammer
  • sand paper
  • sanding machine (particularly useful, but optional)
  • glue
  • drill
  • jig saw
In order to build a nice puzzle that will...well puzzle your friend for a while, especially if he/she is an engineering student, do as follows:
  1. Cut a large piece of wood that will become the main board
  2. Cut a small block that will stand and the nail stand.
  3. Glue them together so they look nice and the nail stand is not in the way
  4. Drill holes of equal depth on the small wood block so 18 nails can stand separately in each hole
  5. Plant a nail in the middle of the board and make sure it is nice and vertical.
  6. If you have some printable labels you can print the game instruction and stick them on an empty spot on the wood board. Make sure you sand everything well before applying the labels.
  7. It should look like the picture below.
Game Instructions: Put all 18 nails on the central nail. The resulting structure should be stable.
This means they should all be placed so that they only touch the central nail's head and maybe each other.

Game Solution: You can find the puzzle solution here.

Now enjoy your new puzzle. _


RogierG said...

I hope it's not the friend that got you the Arduino boards ;-)

Like your blog by the way.

Carlos said...

Don't worry. my girlfriend got me the arduino boards for my birthday. I usually get her nice presents too, but unfortunately they lie out of the scope of this blog.

I'm very glad and flattered you enjoy my blog. I saw you have a nice blog too, keep up the good work.

kshepard said...

May I ask the solution? I can't find it.

Carlos said...

Google "nail puzzle" (without the quotes) and the first result shows the solution (at least in the English Google).

Also, hidden in the post, there is a link to a picture of the solved puzzle.

If you still have doubts, please send me an email (my email adders in on the right-hand-side below the "License" section) I'll be glad to give you a direct link to the solution and answer all of your questions.

Sorry if I'm being mysterious, it's just that I don't want to spoil the puzzle to everyone.

Thank you for your interest and good luck.