Step 1: The initial plotting
The first thing I needed to do was decide how big I wanted to make the board, so I could plot out how big to make the pieces and such. I was trying to decide between having each square be 1.5" and 1.25" to a side - the red outline in the picture would, of course, be for the 1.5" squares. I'm pretty proud of how I did this (graph paper is your friend, folks!), especially with the overlapping and such.
Step 2: Piece-planning
And so I did.
(I may have adjusted some of these heights later on. I can't quite remember. Damn you, lousy medium-term-memory!)
I realize that it's silly to draw out a box for each and every piece since, in theory at least, all of a given group (i.e. pawns) will end up being the same size. I did it anyway to help myself keep track of what I'd done, and where, and such.
Step 3: Supplies!
1x 12"x12" (OR SO THEY CLAIMED! (more on that later) ) x0.5" wooden board
16x Acorn nut
1x box of like 70 hex nuts
32x flange nuts
4x slotted nuts
4x wing nuts
4x drywall anchors
4x finials (again, more on that later)
5x 4"x10"x0.008" sheets of ...um, tin I think.
4x large flat angle brackets
4x smaller vertical angle brackets
1x 24"x12" piece of plexiglass
2x threaded rods @ 3' long x 0.25" diameter, 20-thread
1x bottle of superglue
2x Piece that I can never remember the name of - I'll highlight one in a future step
2x whiz nuts
1x can of metallic-fleck blue spray paint
4x flat metal pieces with holes pre-punched in 'em
24x flat-headed screws (not talking about slotted vs phillips here, I mean the actual head of the screw is flat. Not rounded, or hex-y, or whatnot.)
32x hex-headed slotted screws
I already had on hand:
sharpies in red and black
1x can of sterling silver spray paint
4' of metal edging
a power drill with assorted bits
a centering punch
an industrial strength (not even kidding) paper cutter. Seriously, this thing could cut your leg off without a lot of effort. Plus it's like 2 feet square, weighs like a ton. Trust me, you'd know if you had one.
Step 4: Construction begins!
First thing I did was sketch out on the board whereabouts my actual tiles would be going. I honestly kinda dig how that turned out, in and of itself. Very minimalist, kinda modernish (I think; I'm not an art major). Note that there is, in fact, a border around the edge of the board. Those of you with fast memories will recall that I decided to go with 1.25" squares, and have a board that claims to be 12"x12". Those of you with fast math skills have already realized that 1.25 * 8 = 10, not 12. Thus, I've got about an inch all around the outside of my board.
Funny story (well, not really, but it's important): Ace Hardware sells me this board, says it's a foot to a side. Being the trusting, naive guy that I can be, I take them at their word. Turns out, the board's actually something like 11-and-13/16 inches by 11-and-15/16 inches. It doesn't SOUND like a whole lot of difference, but it's enough to possibly throw a monkey wrench into our plots. Long story short: MEASURE THE STUFF YOU'RE BUYING!
The more you know.
Step 5: The saga continues...
To ensure that the washers and nuts were minimally offset from each other, I devised a spiffy solution: I put all the washers onto a long 1/4" 20-thread bolt I found laying around the workshop, with one of the wingnuts underneath them. Then I would thread a flange nut down onto the bolt, apply the superglue, stick 'em together, and - and this is important - move the STACK away from the new base-piece.
It's important to clarify that because of two things: 1) Superglue and torque don't get along well, especially when the superglue is still bonding (even if it HAS, in fact, been at least 10 seconds, I found out, superglue can take a while to solidify), and 2) Superglue and your fingers *do* get along well. Very well. Painfully well, if you catch my meaning.
By moving the stack away from the base piece, we can ensure that no undue torque is inflicted upon the still-drying superglue, and we can also ensure that our fingers don't get bonded to the damn thing.
Step 6: The armies begin to take shape!
I took the threaded rods I purchased and lined 'em up on the graph paper that I had the piece-length outlines on. Using a sharpie, I marked off which threads to cut between (note: if you're not planning on painting your pieces after they're finished, y'might wanna use something not so...permanent. Just a thought. :D ). Many scorched fingertips (metal gets REALLY hot when you saw through it. Go figure.) and sore arm muscles later , I had the cut rods for my pieces. The image below is a mock-up of how I was planning to make 'em look. They are, from left to right, Rook, Knight, Bishop, King v1, King v2, and pawn.
At this point, I wasn't sure how I wanted to do the kings - I ended up going with the v1 style. I also changed the rook design a bit. It's hard to see in the picture, but the original idea was to have the hex-nut-stack that the rook is composed of alternate so that one layer's side would be below the next layer's corner, etc. I ended up just making them all align the same, as it was much easier and cleaner-looking.
That piece I'm using for the bishop's head there is actually a brass piece from a lamp we used to have. I ended up not being able to find that exact thing anywhere, and went with finials instead. They look almost identical, but finials can be found, whereas the brass whats-its are not quite so findable.
Step 7: Avengers, assemble!
In order, the Kings, Queens, Bishops, Knights, Rooks, and Pawns:
Step 8: I'm board....
Anyhoo. Now that the pieces are good to go, we can set our sights on the board. My plan is to have the main board be four (maybe five, depending on how you count) layers deep - the wood plank on the bottom, then have that entirely covered by 4 sheets of silver-painted metal (they come in 4"x10" sheets, I've got 12"x12" to cover, you do the math) and the individual blue-painted squares on top of that, then the plexiglass cover, and the large/flat angle brackets on top of THAT.
Then, since that is clearly not enough, around the outside of the board is going to be a thin metal frame, with L-brackets ("corner braces", I think is what the store called 'em) on the corners, and ...um, flattened corner braces(?) in the middle.
Here's how the board looks now, without being done at all (cos it's not) - note that the red sharpie lines are on the plastic COVERING the plexiglass; they will not stay on the plexiglass once that has been taken off:
I later ditched the "four sheets cut into pieces" idea in favor of a "one biiiiiiiig sheet" for the layer immediately on top of the board. More on that later.
Step 9: More Board
The edging that I used does not, of course, come pre-bent. It comes, in fact, in a rather decidedly *un-bent* shape. So, what we do is, put the board in the edging, rotate the board three - NOT four - times (four rotations would give five sides, you see), and cut at the far end. Then, carefully indicate where your corners are going to be, and cut the frame so that you have a 90-degree angle positioned 45 degrees away from both edges (looks kinda like this: _\ /_ ). In other words, you want to be able to bend your frame 90 degrees and have the corners look natural.
After cutting and bending, here's what we've got:
Step 10: I've been framed!
After you've got your holes marked, get a centering punch (makes little dents in otherwise smooth finishes that drill bits can center themselves in), and punch in the center of the marks. I found that I got much better results if I did this while the brace or bracket or whatever was still in place, since they don't like holding on too well. (The braces have rounded corners, whereas the frame's got more squared-off corners).
Then, get a couplea high-grip clamps, and a piece of scrap wood that is AT LEAST A LITTLE THICKER THAN THE FRAME. I capitalized that cos it's important. Put the frame on the wood so that the area you're gonna be drilling is on the wood, and clamp both frame and wood down onto the table that you're drilling on top of. Use a drill bit that is equal in size to the hole in the bracket that's already there, and have at it! I found it immensely helpful when drilling the corner holes to use a nut and bolt (nut on the outside) to actually hold one of the braces in place, to help with the positioning of the other 3 holes. They don't have to be perfectly centered, but the closer to it that you can get, the better.
Here's how my setup looked during the side-hole-cutting-outing:
Step 11: Egads! Progress!
THEN, you're going to want to check and make sure your brackets and braces and such still fit on the frame. You may need to flip the braces around 180 degrees (I know not why) to get 'em to work optimally, but when you're finished, you should be able to do something like this:
Step 12: Further board progression
After you get your holes drilled, trace 'em onto the board with a pencil, as shown in the 2nd photo.
Step 13: STEP OF DOOM!
And so of course, the picture sucks. Such is life.
Step 14: Almost done with the board!
Also, the first picture for this step shows the industrial-strength paper cutter I mentioned before. It's the green thing the board is on. Remember, the wood block is about a foot square. o.O
Step 15: Final preparations
The blue squares are also getting their paint in this step; you can make a few of 'em out to the left of the bracket-holder.
For those who were curious about how the frame would get painted, I included a picture of the apparatus I made for that too. (Stiff wire counts as an apparatus, right? ....Right?)
If you're concerned about the obvious excess of paint visible on the floor and pipe in the top picture, don't be - all spray painting has taken place in the coal chute room. Yes, my folks' house is old enough that it has a coal chute. And no insulation. >.>
Step 16: Final preparations, part 2 - Aerosol fumes are my frie- I CAN TASTE COLORS
In any case, for those of you who intend to make your own sets, if you use the clear coat, please don't do what I did and do it in the basement. You want a WELL VENTILATED AREA. Trust me on this.
After viewing the photos, it's kinda hard to see that the pieces have been clearcoated - trust me though, the difference is MUCH more visible in person.
Step 17: Board Creation, ahoy!
I epoxied the blue squares onto a 10"x10" sheet o' metal that I'd spray-painted silver, and let that sit for about 8 hours or so. Once it was done, I unwrapped the plexiglass cover and put that on top, then screwed on the angle brackets.
After that, I put the corner braces on the frame, followed by the flat braces. The results can be seen below.
While the epoxy was drying, I grabbed this really awesome case that my dad gave me (after he removed the lock from the top/front of it) for the project and some high-density foam. I cut off blocks of foam to pad the sides of the case where the board sits, and cut slits in another piece for the pieces to sit in.