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This is a laser cut Settlers of Catan board game I made for my brother for Christmas! It's far more durable than the actual game board, the parts don't shift around during play, and it looks much nicer in my opinion.

In terms of the materials needed, this is a pretty simple instructable:

- 1/8th inch wood (approximately 3 pieces of 18''x24'' needed)

- Wood stain

- Polyurethane

- White, blue, orange, red paint

Step 1: Draw Your Design

Using your favorite vector editor, create your design! (Or use the attached ones from CorelDraw. Note that the attached files include pieces for the Cities and Knights expansion).

*EDIT*
Shout out to user JaredB71 for cleaning up the tiles and converting them to Adobe Illustrator. I've included that file as catan_complete_board.ai. I'll keep the old files up, but I recommend using Jared's.


For this step, I used CorelDraw which worked well for me. If I were to do it over, I would change how the roads were cut since I had some overlapping lines which took an unnecessarily long amount of time to cut. Other changes would be simplifying the design on the 3rd tier knight, as it is a little too complex for such a small token and ends up engraving pretty deeply into the wood.

As you can see, there are various tokens. I will explain the basic ones for the original game, found in the tokens_original_resources_final file. The other files (tokenCutRed and tokenEngraveBlack) contain extra pieces for the Cities and Knights expansion:
- The circular tokens with a circle in the middle are the settlements

- The stars are the cities.

- The rectangles are the roads

Step 2: Laser Cut Your Design Onto Wood

There are multiple steps to laser cutting the pieces, as there are multiple files, and most laser cutters don't have room to cut everything at once.

First cut out the base. This is simply the large hexagon with nothing else in it.

Next, your hex tiles should be cut out (along with the numbered tokens). Firstly, the machine should engrave before cutting so that everything is in the proper place (as pieces can move slightly during cutting).

Cutting out the hex tiles also makes a perfect piece of wood to hold these tiles with, so keep that wood as well.

Finally, cut out all your tokens/walls. The file I have included has enough tokens for two boards/extra pieces. I would recommend keeping at least some of those extras since pieces might break during construction of the rest of the board.

For my design, the red lines are cutting and the black lines are engraving.

Step 3: Glue the Base to the Outline and Stain

I was going for a nice contrast between the actual board and the hex tiles, so I stained the board. Next, use epoxy/glue, and glue your two large pieces together. This creates a nice base where your hex tiles can rest.

Next, polyurethane both your base and all the hex tiles, as they are finished! The poly will keep the stain from rubbing off on your fingers during play, as well as make it moisture-resistant. It'll also give it a nice finish.

Step 4: Place Tiles Into Base

The hard part is done! Your ports, hex tiles, and resource numbers can all be placed in the board and swapped around to your heart's content.

Step 5: Build the Robber, Paint the Pieces

I made my robber by getting a clothespin for a dollar store and cutting it down so that it is just the round head, then I also stained and poly'd that as well. Looks quite a bit like the actual game robber!

There are a number of other pieces and tokens that I included in the files, such as small plaques for Longest Road and Largest Army that you might like to stain as well.

Now all your pieces need to be painted! For each player, they get:

- 4 Cities

- 5 Settlements

- 15 Roads

All in all, there are 96 pieces to be painted (not counting the Cities and Knights tokens!), so buckle up! Try to paint a light coat so as to keep the design underneath still visible. This is where those extra pieces come in handy, since sometimes a big glob of paint will make one token look way worse than the others.

Step 6: Play the Game!

Get some friends/family over and play the game/show off your awesome Catan board!

To organize the pieces, I bought a bunch of vinyl bags off eBay, as I thought it would add some classiness to it. If I had more time, I would have also built a box to carry the board in. I chose not to make the board foldable as I thought it would detract a bit from the feel of it, but it would definitely make it easier to carry it.

As a side note, I didn't think that the original cards really suited the aesthetic I was going for, so I quickly designed some minimalist ones and printed out all the cards needed to play the game. If you prefer the original cards, you can easily buy them off Amazon or get them from the full purchased board game, but I have included the files just in case.

<p>Hi Josh!</p><p>Thanks for this awesome design! A quick question, in the DXF files, you engrave all tiles and cut all tiles in 1 file, except for 2 tiles. Is this for 'engraving'/stability purposes? Will share a picture soon!</p>
<p>Hey Vincent, sorry for the late reply. That sounds like a glitch in the DXF file, I believe all tiles should have engravings!</p>
<p>Amazing! Thanks for the hard work, Josh.</p><p>I altered your design in Adobe Illustrator and created one .ai file with the complete board game. To save time, I don't engrave the hexagonal tiles or the perimeter of the board -- I just cut them.</p><p>I made one using 5 mm fiberboard. I decided not to cut out the base since the board will sit on my coffee table as a centerpiece!</p>
<p>Beautiful! Awesome work! If you would like, you can send me the .ai file you used and I'll add it to the instructable.</p>
<p>Hi! have you the .ai? I will love to paint over the tiles!</p>
<p>Note, you cab try wiping with white vinegar to remove some of the soot-stains before finishing the wood. (apparently its not actually soot, but burned pitch residue from the wood, and the vinegar dissovles it)</p>
<p>I made one as well, really like the design.</p><p>But I had to work on the dxf-Files, there were too many overlapping lines.</p><p>I used pine and am going to stain it soon :)</p>
<p>I love your design, unfortunately it's not opening properly because I don't have the fonts Batang and BatangChe. Any chance you could reupload the black_engraving.cdr with the text converted to curves?</p>
Awesome instructable. Some friends and i teamed up and made a few. Still trying to figure out whether or not to stain the resources different colors.
<p>Beautiful. If you haven't stained it already, I'd just leave it as is and give it a light coat of varnish (or oil if you still want the option to stain it later)</p>
<p>Wow that's so awesome!!! Thanks very much for sharing the photo, I hope you enjoy using it!</p>
<p>I don't have the equipment to make this, but love your design. Would you be willing to make a set on commission? If so, let me know, and maybe we can talk price. Thanks.</p>
<p>There are a number of sellers on etsy and the like; PrawnDesigns.com does a good job with Settlers boards :)</p>
<p>Unfortunately I'm probably not going to start selling them - that seems like a copyright infringement waiting to happen! I bet you could try finding a hobby group in your area and giving someone the designs and asking if they will make it though :). Thanks for the thought though!</p>
<p>I can't get files to show up. I'm using Adobe Illustrator but I should be able to open Corel draw files just fine. I see you mentioned you uploaded them in a zip file, but I dont see that either. Any help would be great!</p>
<p>Hey, sorry for the late reply. I'm not sure where the zip went, I've reuploaded it now, I'm not on my primary computer so I can't check if they are the proper files (had it on my cloud backup) but I think it should work. Feel free to message me again if it doesnt!</p>
<p>Hi Josh, great intrstructable. The board and the other pieces look extremly beautiful. Of course, i am interested in making my own board, but i have some trouble opening the .cdr-files without any bugs. Will it be possible to upload the files as scalable vector-graphics file such as .svg. That would be great!</p><p>Thanks and keep posting such amazing stuff!</p>
<p>Hi Josh, what a great board you've made! <br>So good I wanted to try making it myself, i was just wondering what type of wood you've used for the board?<br><br>Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi, thanks very much! The wood I used was birch because it is cheap and easily available where I am in Canada, but I think you could use pretty much any wood you'd like :)</p>
<p>Wow...you can easily see the effort put into this. Gorgeous job!</p>
Beautiful. Can I just buy one from you? :)
<p>Thanks! Sorry, I'm not actually selling them right now, but if you use the files I've provided it should only take a few hours altogether, the design took the longest :)</p>
had this idea years ago... glad someone finally did it. great instruction
<p>Love the game, and this just made it better. Love it.</p>
<p>As a huge fan of settlers, this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. </p>
<p>Thanks! Cheers!</p>
Hey. thanks for sharing. this is great
<p>Thanks very much!</p>
Nicely done!
<p>Thanks!</p>
Wow! This looks amazing! I especially love the way you used reimagined resource drawings. Those, paired with the wood, gives the game a cool, ancient vibe :)
<p>Thanks very much, that was the aesthetic I was trying to go for!</p>
<p>Seems beautiful!<br>Unfortunately I can't download the attached .docx files for some &quot;Error 403&quot; reason. Any way you can share them somwhere else?</p>
<p>Thanks! I've re-uploaded the files in a zip folder, so you should be able to download them now!</p>
<p>Now how could you make this to work with the seafarers?</p><p>Well still love it anyways!<br></p>
How do you do that?

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Bio: I'm a Software Engineering Student at the University of British Columbia.
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