Instructables

Learn with me as I Make Wooden Chess Set at TechShop.

Picture of Learn with me as I Make Wooden Chess Set at TechShop.
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Goal:  To learn how to make Inexpensive Chess Pieces and Chess Board.

Software & Hardware:  Google Image Search, Corel Draw and Epilog Laser Cutter and Edger.

Special Note:  The wood to make the chess pieces were made from leftover scrap woods.

Google Search "Images Chess"

Get the images that you like best.  Avoid ones with intricate lines and features. You only need to create each of the 6 kinds:
King Queen Bishop Knight Rook & Pawn.  For each of the chess piece, box and resize the tall rectangles to squares. 
I imported them to simple MS-Paint and did my resizing there.  No fancy software needed here.

Open the reworked images.   Make two concentric circles (I used 1.0" and 1.08" diameters).  Big one first and small circle next. Fill the big one with dark color (For rasterized and painted surface). Fill the small circle with white color (NOT No Fill). If the small circle shade is behind the big circle, simply Cut and Paste the small circle to bring it in front of the circle.  Copy and  Paste 6 of these circle  Re-size your chess piece to about 0.8" squares.  Create only the unique 6 kind of chess pieces.   Then you could copy and paste as needed.

Time for Laser Edging and Cutting.
     I used scrap woods that other left in the scrap box for the chess pieces.  So I just rearranged the piece on Corel Draw using a different pages and layout to fit the small pieces of scraps. I also got a gift from a good fellow to make my chess board. 
    As I will tell later in the Lessons Learned, the wood need to be pretreated.
    First step, I applied a special masking tape on my wood stock.  I positioned in on the top left corner.  I would put a slight put to the corner and 1 or 2 edges  depending to the scrap piece.  I would raster only on the 1st round.  Then, I removed the tape on areas to be painted.  Then, I took them to the paint booth and painted them white or black.  With the white, a 2nd coating would be needed to make the white color more solid white.  I would take the masking tape out first before cutting out the pieces.  So if any rework need to be down, it won't be too late.
     Next, I replaced the board back for laser cutting.  I print this time with vector only to laser cut the individual pieces.   The pictures you that I attached would give you a good idea of this project and my 1st attempt results.
     Stay tune for the fun to see the final outcome.

The Chess Board:
      I created a 1.25" square.  I copied and pasted it back and use the right arrow key to move the square horizontally to the right.
I copied the 2 pieces and position them to the right again. Zoom In would help accuracy in alignment.  I then copied 4 units and position them again to the right.   Now I have 8 units of squares.   Similary, I copied each set of 8 squares vertically.  This time, I use the down arrow key to move them downard and position them.
     I then click the alternate block and make it dark color.  I then click the others with white background.   Be reminded that the chess board lower right square is always black.  In my board, it did not matter.  But I think it is important to I mark them clearly so that the players won't make mistake.   For beginner chess players, board orientation could sometimes become a problem.
     I added the outline and cutting vector. 

     You would need to raster and cut the board at the same time to avoid even any small misalignment.

Lessons Learned:
   * Use very flat board for the chess board so the sanding would be nice and smooth. 
   * As you will notice, I was able to paint the black rook but there are mark a line traces.   At TechShop, there are a lot of Masters on Wood Arts.  One of them recognized the problem and know exactly what happen.   He suggested the I need to do some pre-work on the wood that I would raster and paint.   He suggest 5 steps:  Blast with compress air tool to clean up any loose wood particles and dirt, sand it with 200 grit sander, and then blast with compress air tool again to clean up fine saw dust.  Then apply a coat of clear lacquer paint.  At Home Depot paint department, under $8 a can.  I bought one can of White, one can of Black and one can of clear lacquer.
   * The pawn need to be made smaller so not to mixed up as a Bishop.  The queen also was hard to differentiate.  So these are the potential problems you might encounter.  So choose your original image carefully.
    * Update: I found the best solution.  I use invert to make Black and White pieces.  First, Copy the full set (16 pcs) to the row below.  Then change image to Bitmap.  Then, from Effect tab, click Transform, then Invert.


See the final results now. They are much better.  

Thanks again to all TechShop staffs, instructors and masters who offered help and suggestions.