I decided to make my son a box for the holidays to hold his Pokémon card game. This box is made from stacked and glued laser-cut plywood. It holds six card decks, play coins, dice for damage counters, and the play board.
- 1/8" plywood panel (I used two 36" x 24" panels and one 18" x 12" panel)
- 1/8" round wooden dowel (12" in length)
- Laser cutter (I used an Epilog 120 Watt cutter)
- Wood glue
- Hammer (and scrap piece of wood)
- Cutters (or small saw)
Step 1: Cut the Wood
I used AutoCAD to design the layout of the layers of the box. I know that this is overkill, but it's my design tool of choice because I'm comfortable with it. Don't judge me.
The design file is included here in various formats. I will not go into the details about how to use a laser cutter, since that is covered in great detail in other instructables, like this one.
For this project, you will need 1 back panel, 14 card frames, 2 board frames, and 2 open frames to construct the main box. The lid is made up of 2 lid insets (inner part of the open frames), and 1 lid top. Cut those out of 1/8" plywood.
Step 2: Engrave the Lid
Find or make appropriate artwork to engrave in the lid with the laser cutter. I found this free image (at least, free at the time of the creation of this instructable). Engrave your artwork into the lid. Again, there are plenty of instructables about engraving with a laser cutter, so I won't go into detail here.
Step 3: Construct the Box
Cut four 3" sections of the 1/8" dowel. Starting with the back panel, fit the dowels into each of the corner alignment holes. Apply wood glue to the underside of one of the card frame layers. Position the glued card frame at the top of the dowels and carefully push it down the dowels until it meets the back panel. I used a piece of scrap wood and a hammer to gently tap with even pressure to push the frame down the dowels. Be sure to position the scrap wood right next to the dowels so that the pressure is applied there.
Remove excess glue with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel. Continue this process with each of the remaining 13 card frame layers. Follow this with the 2 board frames. Follow this with the 2 open frames.
Clamp the layers together. Again remove the excess glue, and allow to dry for a few hours. Any dowel sticking out at the top will be removed later.
Meanwhile, construct the lid by gluing the two inner lid layers to the lid top using 4 short 1/8" dowels for alignment. Remove excess glue, clamp, remove excess glue again, and allow to dry for a few hours.
Once everything is dry, clip dowels and sand the top surface smooth. Be very careful with the sanding of the lid if the artwork is near the dowels so that you don't mar the picture.
Finally, hand sand the sides (inside and out) of the box to make them relatively smooth. This will help with getting the cards in and out without them getting caught up on bits of dried glue.
Sand the outer edge of the inner part of the lid to allow it to fit into the box smoothly.
Step 4: Load the Box
Now that your box is complete, load it up with up to six complete decks. The open space in the middle between the decks can be used to hold pokemon coins, tokens, and damage counters (my son uses 10-sided dice numbered 00,10,20,30, etc. for damage counters. 00 is used to represent 100 damage).
A properly folded playfield fits in the space above this center area.
Once everything is in place, fit in the lid and the game is ready to be stored on a bookshelf, or carried to your next game!