Project Description

My project is a mechanical wooden puzzle that is intended to resemble a whimsical carousel. All of the pieces will be laser cut and pieced together in a way where they can be taken apart and put back together while still maintaining functionality. The dimensions of this project will most likely be under a 12″x12″x12″ in order to fit comfortably on a shelf or desk. I wanted to choose to make a carousel for this design because it already has that whimsical nostalgia to it as well as being a mechanical moving ride. I think this will integrate well with my chosen aesthetics.


  1. I want my project to look whimsical. When people think of carousels, they think of childhood, fun, and often the ornate and intricate designs painted throughout.
  2. Function – I want a user to be able to turn the gear on the side of my project and have the carousel go around in a circle. It is important to be that I get this function working. Given the time, I would also like to test ways to get the horses to go up and down as it turns.
  3. Ability to construct and take apart – Because this is intended to be a puzzle, I want to be something that does not need any glue or fasteners to construct.
  4. User Friendly – Similar to the above specification, this is intended to be a puzzle. For this reason, I would like to make it easy for the user to take apart and put back together. I intend to do this by labeling each piece and making instructions for assembling.
  5. Aesthetic – I want my project to continue to match my aesthetic of whimsical steampunk. I want to include gears and possibly exposed gears to continue to give it that look. Similar to other mechanical wooden puzzles, I like that that they help teach people about gear movements.


  1. Time – With other classes and projects I have to do on top of this one, I am finding it hard to find time to work on this project.
  2. Money – I am working on a budget for this project. Because I am only using plywood and possibly some dowels, this should not be that hard to keep within a reasonable budget.
  3. CAD Skills  – I have experience using CAD programs as well as laser cutting, but I am trying to create a project that requires a lot of moving parts. I am also finding difficulty with creating the sides of my carousel. I want all the pieces to connect together as well as lay flat so they can be laser cut, however this can be difficult for the rounded sides.
  4. Time to fabricate – When I start laser cutting, I will have to set a large amount of time. Plywood takes a lot of time to laser cut and I need to be near the machine the entire time for safety reasons.
  5. Art Skills – When creating sketches of my design, I found it difficult to put onto paper the exact concept that I had in my head. To get over this constraint, I tried to focus on the general shape and use reference images when creating the actual design.
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hailey Usher
    April 3, 2024 5:13 pm

    Hi Sophia! I’m super excited about your idea! Your puzzle will be so fun to show friends and take it apart to put it back together again!

    I’m wondering, how are you going to specifically going to incorporate the whimsical aesthetic? Will you go through with painting childlike designs on the puzzle piece gears? I’m looking forward to seeing your progress next week!

    • Hi Hailey!!!!

      My plan is to incorporate the whimsical design into the cutouts of the wood. I like the simple wooden aesthetic, so I don’t plan on painting it at least not yet. I would like to add swirly designs and horses for the figures.


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