This year Jay’s mom gave him a gift that has ended up costing us quite a bit. It was yet another thing that once Jay started messing with he couldn’t stop. Have you seen the 3D wooden puzzles?
This is the train and car set that he received. Jay LOVE to assemble stuff, so this puzzle was right up his alley. I can’t recall how many hours it took him to complete this, but I know it was only a day that he worked on it.
One of the first things you assemble is the “engine” part. All of those gears, pulleys and axles.
I asked Jay some questions so that I could include his opinions in this post. His favorite part about these puzzles is the process of assembling them. It’s very therapeutic. The puzzles come with step-by-step instructions and it ends up being like a scavenger hunt to find the sheet with the particular part number you need. Using your Xacto knife you separate it from the sheet of parts and place it per the instructions. Typically Jay tosses instruction sheets to the side, but not with these puzzles.
What’s really impressive about the puzzles is the engineering. Look at those gears on the underside of the train engine. They all fit together just right so that they can turn the correct pieces on the gears above so that this train actually runs along the track that is included with this puzzle. They even include rubber bands for the drive shaft.
There are rubber bands used on the pulleys inside, too.
If I remember correctly, none of this gets glued together. It’s all press fit. The fits are so close and tight that they hold together really well. I have personally moved this train and car a few times and I’ve never had any of it fall apart.
One tip Jay gives is that if the puzzle has moving parts you definitely need to use the wax that is included with the puzzle. It really does make a huge difference.
At one point I was doing laundry and Jay called me over to look at the part he had just removed from the sheet. He was so impressed with the design and engineering that he just had to share.
The roof over the car and the engine cab, plus up by the cow catcher, were all flat pieces within the plywood sheet. It was cut in such a way, though, that you’re able to bend and curve it. It really is quite impressive.
The details on the panels are great, too. If you didn’t know, these are all laser cut. When I asked Jay what was his least favorite thing about these puzzles he said that it was the fact that he doesn’t have a laser that can cut plywood or the time to design and create his own 3D wooden puzzles.
Jay has a lot of experience assembling things, but he feels that as long as you have patience and follow the instructions exactly that anybody can put one of these together.
There are several different brands and many places where you can purchase these puzzles. After Jay finished the train and car I purchased another one for him on Amazon. I thought he would like the musical Airplane carousel.
His mom had ordered a puzzle for me for Christmas, too, but instead she got a ship. So she gave that to him to keep him busy.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but did end up receiving the piano.
I had placed an order with Amazon, and like I will do once in a while, I threw something in for Jay as a surprise… an Army Jeep.
The detail on this jeep is incredible. It actually has springs that you put on it so that you can push down on it and the springs pop it back up when you let go. I guess if you ever have to run over some bumpy terrain your ride will be a lot smoother!
The next puzzle Jay purchased for himself. It’s a marble maze and it really does work.
At this point Jay was getting a little burned out so we didn’t order any for a while. Then after we finished the barn wood entertainment center I thought he would like a little treat. So I got him an Airship that reminded me of the airship that you see at the beginning of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
We probably won’t purchase any more of these until we get ready to head to my sister’s for vacation. The pool is great, but Jay needs something to keep his hands busy in the evening. I’ve tried to talk him into learning how to knit or crochet, but he claims he has no interest. When it comes time to order these kits I know I’ll have to let him get at least three or four. If he can do the train and car in less than a day then he’s going to need several to tide him over for almost a week. I know he has his eye on a crane and I’m sure there are several other pieces that can go with it.
So if you know somebody who enjoys puzzles or building things then I highly recommend these puzzles. There are a ton of options out there and you don’t have to have any special skills in order to complete them. Give it a try!