Picture of Custom wood and metal Hive set (boardgame)
A friend introduced me to the game Hive this summer (think chess-meets dominoes-meets insects!), and I was really excited to make a custom set for myself! The original game pieces had a really nice weight to them and I wanted to make sure that my set would be both beautiful, and feel good in your hand.

Materials you'll need:

wood (either 2 types, or 1 pale wood + wood stain) 3/4" thick
3/4" brass round
jb weld or epoxy
sand paper (rough and fine grit)

Tools I used:

Laser cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Milling machine (drill press or hand held drill will also work)
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Step 1: Prepare your files

Picture of Prepare your files
The first step is to plan your designs. There are 22 pieces in total (11 for each player) which are made up of 5 different kinds of pieces:

1 - queen bee
3 - grasshoppers
3 - soldier ants
2 - spiders
2 - beetles

Designing your graphics within a vector based program will allow you to easily send the files to a laser cutter for engraving. Draw a regular hexagon that is approximately 1.5" wide. The exact size doesn't matter as much as all the pieces being the same.  Then go ahead and draw out your insects. Have fun! These can look any way you'd like them to.

Step 2: Laser and metal cutting

Picture of Laser and metal cutting
For my material I chose to use Ash and Walnut for their strong color differences.  The ash cut very nicely, but I had difficulties cutting through 3/4" walnut even on a 100 watt laser. In the end I was happy with how everything turned out, but next time I may simply use Ash for all the pieces and stain or paint half of them.

Adding a brass disk into the back of your pieces gives them a nice hefty weight (also brass and walnut look lovely together). Using a horizontal bandsaw made quick work of cutting my 3/4" brass round into pieces 1/2" long. Afterwards you'll probably want to use a file to knock off any sharp edges caused by cutting.
brianfss1 year ago
Really well done. Great design of the bugs.
I'd do everythig the same except the brass. Pewter is much softer and can be melted and poured into the holes. Almost the same wieght and much easier to do.
P.S. Modern pewter has no lead.
epsmith (author)  brianfss1 year ago
Thanks, that's a great idea! I've never worked with pewter before but I'd love to experiment with it.
Cool. This is a fun game. Like the idea of brass weights, too. Good heft
parisusa1 year ago
Really neat! Thanks for adding the link in your instructable about how to play the game. Never heard of it here in New England.
Nice work. Looks great.
excellent but how to play it?
epsmith (author)  Mindmapper11 year ago
Good point! Here's a link to the instructions