Introduction: Super Simple Settlers of Catan Board

Picture of Super Simple Settlers of Catan Board

Settlers of Catan is arguably one of the most awesome board games you will ever play. The problem is, the game will run you about $40. Want an expansion pack? Another $20-$40.

It's worth it, of course. But if you happen to be one of the few people on this planet who A) wants to settle the beautiful land of Catan , B) doesn't want to spend $40, and C) has access to a laser cutter, then this instructable is for you.

About the board:

I have tried to make this a bare-bones version. The tiles are standard size (3 1/8" edge to edge). All of the graphics are vector-type, so they will be scored, not rastered. This makes the laser operation very fast (15 minutes or so with 1/8" thick MDF from home depot).

In the future I plan to try some fancier stuff, but if you just want to get settling as quickly as possible, this is the way to go.

Note: This instructable is for the board only.



I plan to come up with an easy way to make nice cards and gamepieces as well, and will be posting more instructables as I do so, but for now, stick with your sharpie-marked playing cards and pennies. Or, as I have done, go to a craft store, pick up some little wood pieces and card stock, and go to town with some paint and home-made stencils.

I made it at Techshop (


Step 1: Hit "Go"

Picture of Hit "Go"

That's basically all you have to do. Choose your material (card stock, plywood, or 1/8" MDF from home depot) and tell your laser to cut. If you're familiar with laser cutters, all you need to know is:

  1. The files are attached
  2. Size is 17.9" high, 20.7" wide
  3. Score the red lines
  4. Cut the black lines

If you're less familiar with lasers, here is a more detailed explanation:

There are three files attached. They are all in PDF form (which can be opened with just about any vector based program used to perform laser cuts). They are all vector files, which means they can be cut with a laser.

  • "Catan-Cuts&Scores" (contains both red and black lines)
  • "Catan-CutsOnly" (contains only the black lines)
  • "Catan-ScoresOnly" (contains only the red lines)

Here is how to use them:

  1. Open the "Catan-ScoresOnly" file. Set your laser settings such that they will only cut partway through your material. If the recommended settings for your material say to use a speed of 35 and a power of 90, for example, you could either change your speed to 90 (so that the laser moves faster and thus doesn't have time to cut as deep) or change your power to 35 (so that the laser doesn't cut as deep as it moves). Start the laser. Scoring took my laser 5-10 minutes on 1/8" MDF.
  2. Open the "Catan-CutsOnly" file. Set your laser settings such that they will cut all the way through the material. In my case, I used the same settings as I did for scoring, but repeated the cuts twice in order to cut all the way through. Cutting took my laser 10-15 minutes on 1/8" MDF.

Optionally, some laser cutters allow you to set different speed and power settings based on color. If you want to do this, use the "Catan-Cuts&Scores" file.

That's it. Stay tuned for more instructables on making cards, game pieces, and a better box to hold everything. Have fun!


quitethecontrary made it! (author)2016-06-01

This was a group collaboration at NESIT Hackerspace in CT where I said I was going to make a Settlers board and everyone was so enthusiastic that they jumped in to help. I never play with less than five people so we copied and pasted some for the 5-6 player extension pack, and then hand-painted all the pieces. It was a blast. Thanks for posting your plans!

solobo (author)quitethecontrary2016-06-02

Nice, looks awesome! Thanks for posting pictures!

icampbell7 made it! (author)2014-12-30

I loved the idea of using all vector cuts instead of rasters. I was looking around at a few and it would have taken forever to do all raster images. I made my own version out of 1/4" birch ply. I made my own box, robber, cards, and game pieces as well. I only ordered the development cards because there were so many.

solobo (author)icampbell72014-12-30

Dude, that is awesome. I really like what you did with the perforations to make the box bend like that... I've never seen that before on wood. Any tips on making it work?

Thanks for posting pictures, very cool!

icampbell7 (author)solobo2014-12-30

I modified these plans here.
I scaled it to be as big as possible out of one sheet. you have to be careful when you make the innitial bends that you don't snap the wood. Once you keep the bend held for a while it gets easier.

solobo (author)icampbell72014-12-31

very cool

rastita (author)2016-11-18

Great instructable!!! i´ll make it!. thanks!. may i ask about the expansions? 5-6 players, or seafarers?.. do you have them?. thanks again

solobo (author)rastita2016-11-18

Sorry, I don't have files for the expansions... it should be pretty easy to modify the base files though!

linseyed921 (author)2015-08-27

Okay maybe I'm just not understanding how this works, but is there a way to download an ai file of the cut lines? The laser I work with reads ai files for productions, so I wanted to get this into illustrator, do some design work on the hexes, and then send it to the this possible?

solobo (author)linseyed9212015-08-27

You can easily open and edit the pdf file in Illustrator and save as an adobe illustrator file:

linseyed921 (author)solobo2015-08-27

Thank you so much! I feel silly for not realizing that :)

solobo (author)linseyed9212015-08-27

no problem :)

theodore.mcmahan (author)2015-01-05

I aim to make this, would you happen to have a similar file for the 4-6 player expansion? It would be amazing if you did!

solobo (author)theodore.mcmahan2015-01-06

I've been meaning to make one, but no, I don't have the file yet... sorry!

theodore.mcmahan (author)solobo2015-01-06

oh no stress! This is totally amazing as it is and I am incredible grateful that you posted this. I ordered half a dozen set made from a local laser cutter yesterday, I'm giving them away as late xmas presents.

If you want I could help out with an expansion file. It would literally be copying and pasting two extra hex pieces, and cutting the new set of pips. The tricky bit would be the 6 extra ocean pieces, they would need to be sized correctly and drawn from scratch to match the pieces in the existing file.

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-19

Thank you for your Instructable, my computer opened the files

Nice job.


solobo (author)SparkySolar2014-10-20

Good, hope it works out!

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-19

Thank you for your Instructable

Nice job.


NEIN (author)2014-04-04

Very nice, but I don't see any vector files attached?

solobo (author)NEIN2014-04-07

Neither do I! I've tried uploading them again, and it looks like I was successful this time. Let me know if they still don't show up. Sorry about that.

Nice, I like how it all fits together so nicely!


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