# Tangrams

April 05, 2021

Intro to FabricationThis week I crafted 5 sets of Tangrams — a geometric “dissection puzzle” made up of various basic shapes that assemble into a square. For each puzzle I also created a frame to hold it.

## Preparations

I bought my materials (all poplar wood) from Home Depot: Two 5.5” x 0.25” x 24” sheets for the base, two 5.5” x 0.5” x 24” sheets for the tangrams, and six 0.75” x 0.75” x 36” square strips for the frame.

I used the material dimensions to inform the design. The base would be 5.5” x 5.5”, glued to the inner edge of a 0.75” frame — the total size would be 7”.

## First Iteration

I started with the frame. I used the miter saw to cut square wood into equal segments. At first I measured the rod each cut — later I used a piece of wood as a buttress helped create much more consistent lengths.

*Cutting the frame using the miter saw*

The first frame was a bit misaligned as the edges were not all exactly the same length.

## Cutting the shapes

The shapes are arranged in this pattern on the square.

To cut the tangram pieces I created a jig to hold the square — simply a right angle cutout at 45 degrees to the edge.

*Creating a jig for the tangrams*

I used the jig to cut the square into the Tangram pieces. The wedge allowed my to hold the piece steady as I ran it through the band saw.

Even with the jig, the pieces were still a little mismatched.

*The assembled tangrams in the frame*

To assemble the frame I clued the edges in pairs, then glued the two pairs to each other and the base.

## Making the Rest

Once I had the first prototype I had my process roughly defined. The one major improvement I made was using a guide for the frame cuts, which made the edges much more even.

*Repeatably process for cutting the frame*

*The remaining frames were much more consistent*

Following the same process, I glued the frame edges in pairs.

I glued the pairs to bases using the corner and quick clamps. Not all of the aligned perfectly — I sanded the edges and bases to make sure the fit was snug.

While the glue dried I cut the remaining pieces.

I then sanded down each piece at an angle to give them a beveled edge.

*Sanding the edges with the belt sander*

The only thing I purposefully made different between the 5 puzzles is the amount I sanded the pieces because I wanted to see how the different versions felt. Some I left pretty straight, others I rounded more.

## The Result

The final result!