Picture of Secret Compartment Chess Set

I play chess pretty poorly and have always wanted to get better, but I don't even own a chess set. I decided I wanted to make my own set, but with a twist. I have made a chess board with a secret drawer that is locked unless the pieces are arranged on the board in a specific pattern. 

The way it works is there are magnetic switches underneath the chosen squares on the chess set and magnets glued to the bottom of every chess piece. When the chess pieces with the magnets are placed on the squares with the magnetic switches, the switches open. The arduino is programmed to move a servo with a lever attached inside of the box when the switches are open. When this lever is lifted, the spring-loaded drawer is no longer held in place and pops out.

To lock the drawer again, press the pushbutton on the side while holding the drawer in. A buzzer will go off whenever the servo lever is being opened or closed.
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
(x1) Arduino uno (RadioShack #276-128)
(x1) Standard Servo (RadioShack #273-766)
(x6) Switch-Magnetic Reed Flange (RadioShack #55050593)
(x1) Universal 1000mA AC Adapter (RadioShack #273-316)
(x1) M-type Adaptaplug (RadioShack #273-344)
(x1) Grid-Style PC board (RadioShack #276-149)
(x1) SPST Normally Open Pushbutton (RadioShack #275-644)
(x1) 75dB Piezo Electric Buzzer (RadioShack #273-793)
(x32) Round Ceramic Magnet (RadioShack #64-1883)
(x7) 10kOhm Resistor (RadioShack #271-1335)
(x3) Male header pins
(x2) 36"x24"x1/4" plywood
(x1) 1.5"x1.5"x1/8" plywood
(x1) 2"x2"x1/2" plywood
(x1) Chess Piece Set

Step 2: Cut wood

Picture of Cut wood
Use a laser cutter to cut the outer box pattern on the 1/4" plywood.

Use a laser cutter to cut the drawer pattern on the other sheet of 1/4" plywood.

Step 3: Glue outer box

Picture of Glue outer box
Glue together the pieces of the outer box. 

Step 4: Glue drawer

Picture of Glue drawer
Glue together the pieces of the drawer.

Save the 1/2" squares cut from the same sheet. You will later use these to mount the servo.
angelgabriel9 months ago

Not trying to troll, but it's surprising how many chessboards are not set up properly. Please google and show us the right way.

joaoleite1 year ago


spylock1 year ago

Really nice work.

Not only is the project idea really cool and fun, you did a FANTASTIC job photographing and documenting the step-by-step! I also appreciate how well you described your terms, and didn't just assume everyone knew all the technical vocabulary. I think you have really excelled at using this mode of communication - this is a true instructable!
Couldnt agree more!
clazman1 year ago
Very nice!

I appreciate your using the Arduino and it's programming.

However, are you aware that there is a much simpler method to handle the logic states needed here? A simple latching circuit with an inexpensive relay would perform these tasks quite admirably.

Also, to hold the drawer closed, a simple solenoid operating a latching arm could replace the fancy servo a simple solenoid would suffice. I must admit that the solenoid isn't as "nice" as the servo unless the solenoid's movement could be "softened" (dampened)

Also, having to ensure the drawer was closed BEFORE resettiing could be eliminated by using a limit switch. It would be connected in series with the reset button using its NO side and the NC side of the reset switch). It would be placed in a position to be actuated upon drawer closure.

But, again I laud your use of the Arduino, even though exteremely overused in this application.

The Arduino could be then utilized in more complex situations where my discrete method would be quite cumbersome.

But that is all that a computational device is, right?. A massive assortment of "OFF/ON" switches that ccan be progrrammed much more readily than the discrete method.

Again, please don't see my comments as criticism, rather "Old School" sugestions.

;>), Jerry
nikoala3 (author)  clazman1 year ago
Thanks for your input! I relied more heavily on the Arduino for this project because I do not have as much electronics knowledge, but if I do similar projects in the future I will definitely look into other options more thoroughly!
jfc1151 year ago
I love it. It is so creative. I would love you to incorporate the same thing into a desk, like the one from national treasure, where there is some kind of secret drawer. Well anyway you got a huge vote from me and I hope to see new things from you in the future.
nikoala3 (author)  jfc1151 year ago
Thanks! The desk is an awesome idea. I'll have to look into doing that.
cestes11 year ago
Hmmmm... I usually store my pieces in the drawer below the board, but that seems like it would be problematic with this design. Nice right up though.
I can't open the design files you posted here. Is there a way you can change to a different file type?
donfrench1 year ago
It probably doesn't make a difference and certainly doesn't detract from a very design, but if you want the drawer to be on the side of the board where one of the players sits and the button to go on a side perpendicular to the players, you need to change the pattern of the board. This is because the lower right square of a chess board from a player's perspective is always white.
Brillant! I love this idea, amazing ingenuity on your part. Thank you for sharing :)