Picture of Cybergeek's DIY Chess Set
The how-to of the chess set I made.
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Step 1: The initial plotting

Picture of The initial plotting
So, back in 2007, I decided I'd make a friend of mine a chess set for Christmas. This, however, would be no ordinary chess set. No, this chess set would rock her socks right off, given half a chance.

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

Picture of Piece-planning
Having decided that I'd go for a square-size of 1.25" per side, I now had to decide how I'd build up my pieces. I've made one of these sets before, so all the really difficult thought processes were handled - all I really needed to do was to map it out for myself.

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.
Could you please add a step on HOW to give it to the girl?
cybergeek (author)  Lt. Duct Tape3 years ago
The answer that took 3 years to come is, sadly, not that great:

If she'd liked it, I'd have done so. She, however... well, was less than thrilled. Apparently despite being a lover of board games, she despised chess.

Also, we broke up, so there's that.
As someone who isn't a massive chess fan I would still feel honoured to have a geeky boyfriend who put the effort and thought into making something as awesome as that for me. Congratulations on a project well executed.
 Awesome! I just made an aluminum foundry and now I know what to do with it! Great instructable :)
I love this style of project.  Loved the write up! 
Rock-on cottage industry (style) projects!!!!
Sevion6 years ago
Wow, your girlfriend is a pretty lucky woman. :P
qon duixote6 years ago
excellent project I really liked how clean the final product looked in the case. I'm in need of a chess set while overseas and I can't bring myself to buy a boring old plastic one, this looks like a good project. A carpenter's rule of thumb, wood from a lumber yard is almost always shorter than they claim (that's what she said). It's a result of the width of the cutting tools, usually it's just as easy as asking for lumber cut to size if you don't have your own equipment, but I recommend bringing your own tape measure to the store for most projects
oops, I guess someone already answered that question
znelson7106 years ago
This looks rally cool. I think the peices needed to be filled out more like with nuts all up and down, they look really skinny. this whole thing loks like its part of a contemperary art exhibit. you could have masked off the metal plates and cut the squares out of the tape then painted the metal instead of the squares being a separate material.
Cool! I would make one, but I stink at chess (And yet I'm a nerd. Kinda ironic.).
This thing is amazing ;D
hihahockey6 years ago
you know the dark squares and the white squares are in the wrong place
cybergeek (author)  hihahockey6 years ago
Not if you rotate the board 90 degrees they're not ;)
that is awesome dude!
cosgrove6 years ago
Great Instructable, Had me laughing. I'd make my own, but I'd porbably end up forgetting a certain vital part.. 5/5
Like the King?
maclakey6 years ago
Really very nice! I throughly enjoyed the beer I was drinking, oh, and of course, the well thought out and very humorous dialog throughout your instructable. I look forward to building my own!
cybergeek (author)  maclakey6 years ago
Glad to hear it - send me a link to some pics when it's done! :-D
Koolraap7 years ago
wow, thats SO cool. it's way prettier than those glass chessboards
cybergeek (author)  Koolraap7 years ago
Thanks! I'm thinking about maybe making myself one, but in green instead of blue...not sure if the paint exists, though :-\
green for a chess board ? wouln't do that tho. you could use yellow / purple :P
SpinWard7 years ago
This is beautiful. My dad doesn't play chess but he will think this is really cool! My mom work for a HVAC company and I can get them to cut the squares and bend some pieces for the edges. Thanks for the great idea!
cybergeek (author)  SpinWard7 years ago
My pleasure - I'd love to see how it turns out!
That is absolutely beautiful. I think I'm going to need to save up for a while to build this.... Just out of curiosity about how much did this cost you?
cybergeek (author)  earthstation7 years ago
All in all, probably in the area of $60-75, but I also had a lot of stuff that I didn't need to buy (like the edging, solid metal sheet, etc). Biggest cost, easily, was the spray paint and clear coat. If you can find a less-pricey alternative, you'll be sitting pretty. :D
Super cool project and very fine looking result but I wouldn't give it to a girl for Christmas (after all I'd rather keep it for myself ;). I hope she appreciated it.
edward322147 years ago
This is AWESOME...i want one how much
Bor7 years ago
I love it!
marcward867 years ago
i really like the pieces. i was skeptical at first, but they turned out really well.
bgugi7 years ago
with your board size complaint, did you not know that almost all modern wood measurements are the pre-shrunk measurements? they cut the wood green, measure, then dry, causing shrinkage. that's why your 12x12 was not 12x12.
cybergeek (author)  bgugi7 years ago
Aha! Thanks for the information - any idea *why* they do it like that? Seems to me like it'd be more helpful to the consumers (i.e. the people who pay everyone else to do all this) if the measurements were of the "current" sizes, instead of the "when it was fresh" sizes...
chew socks7 years ago
SWEET!!! I am so gonna make one of these. That's awesome! Finish it soon, I need to know the rest.
PKM7 years ago
Well documented and photographed, an original idea, beautiful design, your writing is amusing and the phrase "I math goodly" made me laugh like an idiot. I don't care if it's not finished yet, you get a + Looking forward to the conclusion!
mrmath7 years ago
Is this done? You seem to have left off in mid build. How did you do the queen? How did you do the board?
cybergeek (author)  mrmath7 years ago
Not finished yet. I finished that last step at like 5am and decided sleep would be good. More is soon to come! :D
Dude! That's awesome! I wanna make a giant version of this with welded pieces, that should be sick!
dang, thats freaking COOL!
Now that's cool!