Repeatable Pieces


I wanted to make some interconnecting block pieces.

I think it’s fun to take repeating objects and make something unique with them, so for this project I chose to make 5 copies of a wooden piece that could be assembled into fun shapes. Essentially, I tried to make a prototype for large-scale Legos.

I started with fairly basic materials, 2 4’ 2x4’s and 3 4’x1 1/8” wooden dowels. I wanted to make the dowels into pegs on either side of the 2x4’s, and make them different lengths on either side. I would give the boards pockets for the dowels to slide into.

I started by marking 1’ sections on my 2x4’s, then marking off every 2” in those sections for drill pockets.

I didn’t use a stop or a jig to cut the boards. I only needed to cut 6 pieces, so it felt just as easy to just cut it on the lines I had drawn.

For the pegs, however, I needed ten pieces of 4”, and ten pieces of 5 ½”. Free-handing that would take way too much time. So I measured out the right distance from the blade on the miter saw, and clamped down a spare piece to act as a stop.

Once I had everything cut, I needed to use the drill press to make my pockets. I loaded the press with a 1 1/8” Forstner bit (which exactly matched my dowels) and set the height on the press to drill into a 2x4 about ½” deep. I set up a stop to be able to drill into my boards at 2” in from the edge, 4” away from the edge, And dead center, or 6” away from the edge.

After that, I sanded each board to take away corners.


from then, it was pretty straightforward to drill each dowel into place.

And there it is! The pieces can be re-arranged in multiple configurations.

I think if I had to do this again, I would have spaced the dowels out more to allow for a greater variety of configurations. I also would have used wood glue – I had assumed that a screw would be enough to keep a dowel in place, but some of these pieces are still pretty loose.