Designing a Labyrinth game with SolidWorks

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated October 3, 2011


I’ve been a fan of the game of Labyrinth for a while.  I spent hours as a kid mastering the X-Y controls to move the steel sphere from Start to Finish to Start to Finish, back and forth continuously.  It was almost an obsession.

I started helping at a youth group and found that they have no games.  What could be better than designing a Labyrinth game with SolidWorks! If only I had a workshop.  Building this in a one bedroom apartment has its disadvantages.

PhotoView 360 Render of Giant Labyrinth

To get started on this project, I grabbed a layout picture of the original game.  Inserting this into a sketch (Tools > Sketch Tools > Sketch Picture) allowed me to quickly get an idea of where the walls and holes should go.  The ratio was different so I had to tweak the locations but in general the path is the same.  Actually the size was determined by the piece of countertop I bought from the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Countertop was great as it’s sturdy and pre-finished.

Imported Picture for Layout

To save some time, I used the Weldment features to create the walls.  I only needed to create a 3D sketch for the wall locations and created custom Weldment profiles.   The outside walls are made with 2×3 lumber.  The inside walls are 1×2.  I could get my complete cutlist automatically.  A simple hole table gave me the locations of all the holes.

Weldment Cutlist

Hole Table

So you may be asking, how is this giant board going to pivot?  Rather than using the original method of knobs with rods and string, I thought I’d keep it simple.  It just needs to pivot on a point so why not attach a spherical door knob on the bottom.  Problem solved.  And it was cheap at the Habitat Restore!

So here is the completed project.  I added 8 handles (2 per side) so you can actually have 4 people playing at the same time.  It gets interesting when all 4 are fighting to control the board.

Giant Labyrinth Game

But then I started thinking that since I have it modeled up in SolidWorks, why not solve it virtually.  Using SolidWorks Motion, just add gravity and 2 motors on the sides and a few hours figuring out the required angular displacements in each direction (by trial and error) and voila. Thanks to Wayne for his knowledge on video rendering with PhotoView, you can choose to view this video in HD 720p.

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.