Cordwood Puzzle Three


A Third in a series of
cordwood puzzles

Saving space back in the day. Source

The project comes with three identical PCBs

The project comes with three identical PCBs

Comes in a lovely bag

This is our third Cordwood Puzzle, appropriately having three levels! (Here are the first and second puzzles.)

In the 1950s and 1960s inventive engineers saved space by using the 'cordwood' assembly, where components were sandwiched in between two circuits boards. This construction became less useful with reduced component sizes, PCB manufacturing advances, more compact integration, and surface mount technology, but is still a lovely piece of history. Combining both old and new, the Cordwood Puzzle series of projects are a tribute to this construction and to the engineers who came up with it.

The puzzle is to correctly assemble the circuit with the components at hand. Once completed, all LEDs light up when power is applied. When connected to a controller board each LED can be individually controlled.

Kit content

Kit content

Unfortunately(!), all the comprehensive assembly guides were mysteriously missing from the kits.

The kit contains

Further information

Cordwood Puzzle Three is an open source design, as is most of our work. You can find the design files for the hardware and packaging at our GitHub repository. You can edit the design files using our own PCB design open source software, PCBmodE.

Cordwood Puzzle Too was Project #25 of the Boldport Club. If you'd like to purchase a kit, become a member and add one to your order through the shop.

The PCBs were lovingly made by Eurocircuits.

Community contributions for this project are on our community site.


Assembly inforgraphic | PDF

Challenge yourself by assembling the kit without further instruction. Before you do that, however, note the following:

  • when connecting to a board, make sure that the I/Os can tolerate the voltage levels that are applied to the Cordwood;

  • make sure that you do not short power and ground; and

  • don't exceed 20mA per LED.

Even though the original comprehensive are forever lost, we've created an alternative guide of varying difficulty levels. Use any information from the infographic, or don't. Up to you! Finally, the assembly instructions for the first Cordwood Puzzle could be helpful ;)

Or, you could follow Saar building it on camera!