U Gears Treasure Box [Review]

Treasure Box

Finger strength only?!

Location:  at home

Date Played: September 15, 2018

Team size: 1-¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ; we recommend 1-4

Duration: 2-4 hours

Price: $44.90 per box

REA Reaction

The U Gears Treasure Box was a small engineering marvel. Over the course of a few hours, we put together its 190 components without any adhesives (and almost no tools). In the end we built a precise, multi-functional work of art that proudly sits on display in our home.

Assembly took a lot of attention to detail and quite a bit of finger strength.

Completed Treasure Box open, a Room Escape Artist logo magnet is hiding inside.

While there was a rough learning curve, and we missed a small detail that diminished the functionality of the box, I enjoyed the time that we spent with our friends putting it together. I love the intricacies of the Treasure Box.

If you have the patience and the interest, give this a shot, or check out any of U Gears’ other mechanical projects; they are gorgeous. I look forward to tackling another one in the future. 

Who is this for?

  • Mechanical puzzlers
  • People who are competent with their hands
  • Lovers of laser cut work
  • People who can follow IKEA instructions without destroying the thing they are building… or their relationship with the people they are doing it with. 

Why play?

  • The box is beautiful
  • The mechanisms are remarkable
  • It’s amazing that this actually worked


We opened up a box with 190 wooden components and followed the IKEA-esque instructions to turn these disparate parts into a mechanical treasure box.

We also needed tea candles to melt wax and lubricate the moving parts. We needed an X-Acto knife and a cutting surface. I found a pair of wire cutters useful as well (more on that later). These items were not included.

U Gears component tree beside an x-acto knife set.


Constructing U Gears Treasure Box was like building an incredibly precise, complex LEGO set. There wasn’t gameplay and it wasn’t a traditional puzzle… but assembling it certainly felt like a puzzle.

Putting the Treasure Box together tested our attention to detail, precision, and finger strength.

Partially assembled treasure box.


➕ This thing worked! It was as cool as it was beautiful.

Ornate top of the completed Treasure Box

➕ U Gears produced the Treasure Box with remarkably tight tolerances. 

➖ Those tight tolerances made some aspects of assembly uncomfortably difficult.

➕ In principle, we needed no extra adhesives or tools beyond what was listed on the box.

Wire cutters next to cut component trees.

➖ In practice, we needed to apply a ton of force onto some small components. I found myself using a pair of wire cutters to cut the wooden stems that the pieces came in to hack together rudimentary tools for pushing these small bits into place. 

➕ The instructions broke the assembly up into workable steps.

A burned out tea candle next to toothpicks covered in white wax.

➕ Once we got the hang of waxing the moving parts, it was easy, and it worked well. 

➖ Sometimes it was difficult to tell exactly where we needed to apply wax. In once instance we didn’t read these instructions correctly, which adversely affected the functionality of the box when we finished. It was absolutely our fault. We misread the instructions for a moment, however, and we couldn’t recover.

➕ This thing was far more durable than we were expecting (which was good because we had to use a lot of force to assemble it).

Mostly assembled treasure box

➖ Assembly was rough on our fingers. 

❓ Between the wax and splinters, assembly was a bit messy. 

➕ The box included plenty of duplicates of the really small bits. We never needed them, but we were happy to have the backup, just in case.

❓ There was a bit of a learning curve. Now that we understand how the models function, I feel like we’ll do a much better job on a future U Gears project.

➕ U Gears included a ton of artistic embellishments on this box. The layers of detail make this creation standout. It’s fun to show it off to guests.

Left side of the the completed treasure box. An internal geared mechanism is exposed.

Tips For Playing

  • Don’t start without tea candles, matches, an X-Acto knife, and cutting surface.
  • You’ll have to get aggressive with some of the parts. Don’t be afraid to apply strength when needed. 
  • Assemble the box accurately, minding details. You’re creating a precise machine.
  • We split up the work into 3 jobs: read directions and separate/ organize pieces, wax application, and assembly 

Buy your copy of U Gears’ Treasure Box, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: U Gears provided a review sample.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)


  1. Is it a “puzzle box” that you have to figure out how to open? Or is it a “box that is a puzzle” to put together? I can’t tell from the pictures if it is simply a cool looking box or if there are working gears or dials or what have you that keep the box locked.

    1. Assembly is the primary goal. Once it’s together it has a couple of functions to figure out. They aren’t complicated solves but they are cool.

  2. So what do you plan to keep inside of it? REA stickers? 😛

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