How to make an Escape Room Puzzle

How to make an Escape Room Puzzle


2Hey, I’m Bob, and I like to make stuff. Today, I’m gonna make a puzzle for an escape room.
Escape rooms are really popular right now. I got to do a DIY
escape room recently with Lowe’s, and it was really
awesome. I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the video.
Basically, it’s a game where you’re put in room with a bunch of puzzles,
and you have to solve those puzzles in under an hour to win the game.
Usually, each one of those puzzles gives you a clue for a
future puzzle. And in this video, I can’t make an entire room,
so I’m gonna make a single puzzle, and we’re gonna assume
that we’ve already collected a note with a bunch of clues in it,
and some game pieces. So we’re gonna make this puzzle
and I’m gonna show you how these pieces solve it, after I show you how I made it.
My wife was nice enough to donate her globe to this project.
I peeled off the sticker that covered the seam between the two halves of the globe.
Then, I had to figure out how to actually cut it in half.
It’s made of cardboard, so it’s not hard to cut, but it’s hard to handle.
So, I made a really simple jig out of some scrap 2×4’s
and some plywood, drilled a couple of holes,
and then used the center holes in the globe to mount it.
I ran this through the band saw, making very, very shallow cuts,
and it took a while to do, but eventually, I got through most of the side,
and then pulled it off the jig before I cut all the way through.
I finished up the last bit of the cut with a utility knife.
The cardboard did not cut very well, so I sanded off the rough edges with a sanding block.
Next, I cut down some pieces of 1/2-inch plywood to make a box.
This both acts as the stand for the globe,
and holds a drawer, which is part of the puzzle
The construction on the box and on the drawer were both extremely simple.
Everything was butt joint together with wood glue, and then I used
brad nails to hold together so I could keep working.
Obviously, to play up the hype of the whole game, you could make this really ornate
and add a bunch of decoration to it.
I was kinda going for simple and basic.
I had a lock that had been pulled out of a pelican case that worked
perfectly for the lock mechanism for this drawer.
I drew out some lines and measured the area that I needed to
remove, so that the lock could fit down in the top of the box.
I used a forstner bit in the drill press to hog out most of this material,
and then went back to clean up the edges with a chisel.
Once I had it squared up, the lock fit right in.
And with it in place, I marked the two mounting holes, and then drilled
holes on the drill press, and drove in some screws from the backside to hold it onto the plate.
I nailed together the drawer, which went on the inside, and it was the same construction as the outside box,
except that I didn’t put a front on it right away.
And that’s because the front is actually the same size as the outside of the box.
I set the drawer on the inside of the box, laid my front panel in place
and traced where it lined up with the inside of the drawer,
and then I marked where the latch needed to sit on the drawer front
relative to the top. Once I had all of this stuff lined up,
I screwed in the latch to the drawer front,
and then glued the front onto the drawer.
I decided to use part of the plastic mount that came with the globe
to mount it to the top of the box.
But it was a little bit too big, so I cut it down and then sanded down the edges flat,
so that I could glue it on the top of the box.
To glue this on, i mixed up some 5-minute epoxy.
Epoxy is great for joining two different materials
that may need different glues otherwise.
Once I have this thing set in place, I set it aside to cure,
and then sanded down the rest of the box to get it ready for paint.
I went over this whole things with an enamel spray paint.
It dries very quickly and has a nice, smooth finish to it.
Then, it was time to move on to the electronics.
The first step was to solder together the simple LCD display.
And then I had to figure out how to mount it in the globe.
And to do this, I covered the front of it with some blue tape, and then cut along
the edges of the face so that I ended up with
a small piece of tape the exact size as the face.
I figured out where on the globe I wanted it to sit,
and then put that tape in place.
This was my guide to cut out this area, using a dremel and a utility knife.
I tried really hard to stay right inside the line, so that the hole
was just slightly smaller than the LCD itself.
After lots of trimming, I got it to fit
perfectly, and pushed it right into place.
The electronics are really what make this puzzle possible, so let’s go through all the components
here and how it’s gonna work in the game play.
We have an LCD display, which is only four pins going to the
arduino. It’s a really simple component.
We’ve got these reed switches, and we’re gonna end up using
four, but I’ve got two wired up here as an example.
Got a 9-volt battery and an arduino uno.
Pretty much any arduino or microcontroller would work for this,
and the code is very, very simple.
So, these reed switches are basically two little pieces of metal
that when you put a magnet next to them,
they pull together and complete a circuit. So, they act as a button
that is triggered by a magnet.
We’ll have these reed switches embedded
in the surface of the globe.
You’ll figure out those locations by reading through a story,
and then you’ll put the pieces in the right places. When you get the first piece
next to the right reed switch, it starts the timer, and then you have that much
time to complete the rest of the pieces. When you get the final piece on,
it stops the timer and blinks, and eventually gives you
a code that you need to unlock the box.
For the magnets, we’re gonna use these small rare earth magnets,
and we can easily embed them in the pieces because they’re so small,
and they’re also really powerful, so you don’t have to get them
that close to trigger the reed switch. For each one of the reed switches,
I soldered it onto a resistor, and then onto a long wire that was about 2 feet long.
This gave me plenty of room to mount it anywhere on the inside of the globe.
I used a small piece of perfboard to solder together all of the
5-volt wires and all the ground wires, so that I could have
one of each going to the arduino. Having this connection
point make it a lot easier to manage the wires that actually go into the
ports of the microcontroller.
I used heat-shrink tubing to cover all of the exposed wires,
and then added in the wires for the LCD display and the battery holder.
Since this will be on the inside of the globe that will
spin around, I used some hot glue to hold all these wires
into their ports, just to make sure they wouldn’t come loose.
Next, I had to figure out how to put the globe back together, and to do this,
I cut a strip of plexiglass, and then chopped it into two pieces
that were both half the circumference of the globe.
Before we can put the electronics back in the globe, we have to figure how to
reattach the two halves and make sure that they won’t spin
once it’s back on the stand. So, I’ve got these two strips that are
half the circumference. I’m gonna glue one into the bottom half,
one into the top half, and then make sure that we can press fit the whole thing
together and still take it apart, so that we can modify the
electronics if we need to later.
I mixed up some more 5-minute epoxy, and then wiped it along
the bottom half of of one piece of this plexiglass.
Once I got it covered, I held it in place and used some clamps
to lock it around the curve of the inside of the globe.
I did the same thing for the other half, making sure that
the globe would line up in the correct orientation.
While that dried, I glued the top onto the box with some CA glue.
After the epoxy was dry on the globe, I press fit the whole thing
back together, and was really happy that it actually locked in place.
On the inside of the globe, we marked the four locations where
the triggers needed to be set.
I used hot glue to hold some washers in the place of these to give the magnets
something to be attracted to. I also cut a small space
down in Antarctica to add an “on/off” switch for the power,
so the battery wouldn’t run out.
I used some hot glue to mount the electronics, and just a note,
where you place these will dictate where the globe sits
when it’s not spinning, because of the weight of all of these electronics.
I used a lot more hot glue to hold the reed switches right in the center
of the washers and on all of the wires, so that they didn’t
fly around on the inside of the globe.
I just used blue tape to hold down the battery, since I would have to take it
in and out at some point.
And then, I mounted the whole thing back together and put it on the stand.
And when you turn the power on, there’s a small sequence to let you know that it’s ready to play.
Here’s the game in it’s completed state. Let’s talk about how to solve it.
Each one of the paragraphs talks about a location and some object
that he took from there. So, we have to read through this story
and figure out where to put these items back where they came from.
Nothing is happening on the game until you place the first piece, and
once you do, a timer starts. After that, you’ve got about
45 seconds to read through the story and find all of the locations
and figure out which pieces go in which places.
Once you get the last piece put in place, the timer stops, and you get a code.
The code on this display is the combination for this lock.
So, when you put that in, it unlocks and opens a drawer.
Inside the drawer is your next clue.
But if you don’t get all the pieces placed in time, you lose.
That’s about it for my escape room puzzle.
I hope it gives you some ideas to make a tabletop game or puzzle of your own.
I got to do a really awesome DIY escape room
recently with Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.
We got invited by Lowe’s to go through a really
cool set of rooms. We had to use our knowledge of
tools and materials to escape a
bunch of interesting challenges, and they’re gonna be on the Lowe’s channel. You should
definitely go check out both videos: the main escape room
video and a behind-the-scenes that they shot as well. It was a lot of
fun. Be sure to go check them out, and thanks to Lowe’s for sponsoring
this video and for letting me go through that awesome room.
That’s it for this one, guys. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “How to make an Escape Room Puzzle”

  1. is there a place where i can suggest stuff for you to make? i came from the diy escape room video btw, im new to your channel.

  2. So cool! I am so inspired now. I've been trying to come up with a cool way to create interactive puzzles like this for years. You've just blown my mind. I've now had several sleepless nights after seeing this trying to think of cool ways to interpret your brilliant idea into something a idiot like me could achieve. Awesome job Bob. As always.

  3. This was really interesting & fun to watch! 😀 you should make a DIY camera cage for DSLRs, that would be a cool idea! Loving your work Bob!

  4. Hey Bob the project is awesome..great work..i had a doubt though,do i have to use the same 7 segment display that you have used with the arduino or any 7 segment display would work?

  5. I am in middle of creating something similar and I am struggling to find a good lock that we can use. Any recommendations?

  6. how do you differentiate which piece goes Where? that is to say, on your reed switches, do you actually have any way to know its the Boat vs the Car?

    and did you attach any "false set" washers inside of the globe? or is solving it a simple matter of "Where does a magnet grab my piece"?

  7. Would it be possible to use small RFID sensors instead of magnetic switches? Then the thing would only open when the right object is in the right position.

  8. You could have hidden the arduino and battery in the base behind the draw so it was more accessible without having to take the globe apart and used a slip ring in the base of the globe at the mount point to run the wires up to the reed switches in the globe. This would also allow for using a plug instead of a battery for power and should mostly solve the balance issue.

  9. You have 1.649.558 subscribers, but this video has 310.148 views, and it has 10K likes (can’t see how much exactly) and it has 112 dislikes, your doing great, but how do you have just 310.148 views, while having 1.649.558 subscribers, please explain to me how that is possible, YOU ARE JUST SO GREAT MAKING STUFF AND YOU ONLY GET 310.148 VIEWS?!?!?!?!? AND ONLY 1.649.558 SUBSCRIBERS?!?!?!?!? THIS CAN BE MORE, so imma share this video and your channel over 1000 times so you get more subs and more views, keep up the great work Bob, your amazing

  10. Hey Bob! Really nice! I'm trying to replicate this project for my wife's 3rd grade students as a cool puzzle for them to solve. I'm not sure I understand the wiring. I'm new to arduino and electronics and I think I got the wires criss-crossed somewhere. Do you have a diagram or quick drawing of the whole thing. Thanks a bunch!

  11. Don't you generally 'lose' by not getting through the whole room in time? It seems a bit unfair that slow readers or people with English as a second language are going to crash and burn on this puzzle. Also, turning the globe to find a country is going to wipe already placed tokens off their reed switch.

  12. i think you dont need the switch to prevent the battery run dry 😂just my opinion , i think its the best that whenever a reed switch is activated it will act as a trigger

  13. Great build, I really like the puzzle. Personally, I would use hall effect sensors instead of reed switches. They tend to be more consistent and reliable in this kind of application.

  14. walks in trying to plan a Halloween escape room … welp I don’t think I have that stuff so I’m just gonna have to look somewhere else but thanks for a interesting video:3

  15. Just a little tidbit from a puzzle lover… Add more magnets than is needed… Else there will be two ways to solve this puzzle: the right way and running a game piece all over the globe til you find the places the game pieces stick.

  16. Hi Bob. Is it possible for you to show me the wiring diagram. It's not quite visible in the video.
    I love to make this one myself, but I cannot figure out how to connect the wires to the Arduino.

  17. programming would be hardest bit? also i might consider using some kinda fixtures inside, so that i can rearrange the switches, so can change the locations for multiple uses.

  18. Excellent idea, craftsmanship and video.
    What I wasn't keen on was one has to dismantle the globe to change batteries…arrrrrrrrrgggh! A 9v battery likely isn't going to last a day or two under normal game room use….can't trust Gamers to turn it off. Hopefully I've "improved the wheel" and here is what I did…

    My version is a globe puzzle with external power and controlled by RF. Normally I have a PC run all my game room, timing, lights, audio, video, arduinos, etc. by GPIO and USB connections. My Main transceiver is an arduino nano with an HC12 module. This talks back and forth to the pc and with up to 100 Slave transceivers at a max. distance of a mile. At first I looked into magnetic resonant coupling charging…too complex to attach to a globe so settled on direct connection to an external power supply.

    Gamers find a USB power block and USB to 3.5mm cable that plugs into the wooden base of the globe by solving a previous puzzle. I added additional circuitry as power blocks shut down if current draw is too low….arduino nano and HC12 draw next to nothing. I then attached a 3.5mm female round power jack thru the bottom of the globe and added a male 3.5mm jack where the half-circle metal arm normally supports the globe with a plastic pin. Now we have an external power source for the electronic components that still works when the globe is spun.

    I wanted more and better sensors (don't like reeds) so I attached 13 RC35 magnetic sensors at map locations inside the globe and these connect to 13 inputs of the Slave arduino/HC12 transceiver. When the magnet is in close proximity to a designated map location on the globe a signal specific to that location is sent to the Main and then acknowledged back to the Slave.

    The Main arduino/transceiver constantly polls signals and when a specific signal, in this case 0500 (Slave # 5, Command 00 = start), acknowledges the globe puzzle has been activated and the PC starts playing the appropriate audio instructions and clues. Each time a correct/incorrect placement happens the pc plays an appropriate congrats/fail audio. Eg: "What city is nicknamed the Big Apple?" The Gamers then place the magnet (mine has a flag attached for appearance and holding) on New York and the PC plays, "New York, Correct." followed shortly with the next clue, "Your next task is to locate the landlocked South American country where Butch and Sundance died." . When all 13 locations have been identified in order, the Slave shuts down, so even if left plugged in there is no battery drain.

    Again, many thanks for the inspirational video!!!!

  19. Pretty cool. I would use a slightly alternative setup: If you don't want 45 second countdown, just program the arduino so that each location reveals one digit of your code. Use 3 locations for a 3 digit lock, and 4 locations for a 4-digit lock.

  20. Why don't you Challenge some other youtubers to build one puzzle each and then put them together in a giant escape room?

  21. Anybody that reads this comment, you better check out “the king of random”'s video “the mystery puzzle box”! ( It's related to this video)

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