I was playing connect four the other day with my 9 year old daughter, looking at the game itself. It looked to be about 35 cents of plastic wrapped in 15 cents of cardboard. They certainly do not make things like they used to.
Anyhow, sitting there playing the game I could not help but think that I could build it better. It looked simple enough. So this project follows my attempt to make my own connect four set.
Step 1: Materials / Tools
This project requires little in the way of materials, but even still here is what I used
- 1/8 in Birch Plywood 12in x 12in -- Amazon
- 1/4in Birch Plywood 12in x 30in -- Amazon
- Minnwax Stain -- Dark Walnut
- Minnwax Stain -- Golden Oak
- Minnwax Poly Spray -- Clear Gloss
- Elmers Carpenters Wood Glue
- Laser Cutter or CNC Router
- Orbital Sander
Step 2: Laser the Parts
I spent a little time that night drawing up the design to the connect four set. I used coreldraw to create the design that I cut. I have included the .CDR file and the .DXF files if you would like to use this design.
Step 3: Sand and Stain
Once the parts are all cut the next step is to sand all of the pieces. In one of the photos above you can see the big difference that sanding can make. Using a laser to cut wood is very effective and convienient, but it does color the wood and leave burn marks. A light sanding brightens up the wood nicly.
One issue I had was "how do I sand the game pieces?". I mean, It would take forever to hand sand each piece, and they are too small to use anything powered. Well, you put it back in the holes that the pieces came out of. Then you can sand without shooting them halfway through the drywall across the room (total dramatization, didn't happen,,, more than once). I used 220 grit sandpaper on a random orbital sander to do all of the sanding.
Next was the stain. And here is where I once again made the mistake of trying to use poly-stain all-in-one crap. After carefully applying the all-in-crappin-one junk to all of the pieces and allowing it to dry for what seemed like 3 to 7 weeks it looked like utter doggy doody. I always tell myself im done with that junk and then the next project i foeget and use it again.
Ok so back to sanding, an entire day wasted. I sanded all of the parts, again. I stained the parts with real stain. I used minnwax golden oak stain on all of the pieces and half of the game pieces. The other half of the game pieces I stained using the Minnwax Walnut stain.
Once all of the pieces were dry I sprayed them with minnwax clear gloss poly and left to let it dry.
Step 4: Glue Together
The problem with wood glue is that it tends to kind of run everywhere and get in every nook and cranny. That is good usually good, but not when you are trying to not get glue everywhere. The solution to this glue issue for me was to use a paintbrush. I just lightly painted on the glue exactly where I wanted it. It seemed to stay exactly where I wanted it to when I applied it using the brush.
Once everything was glued I lightly clamped it together for a little bit to make sure that it glued together straight. I used a paper towel to clean up the excess glue and just waited for it to dry.
Step 5: All Done
All in all im very happy with this build. This is actually one of the few times that the first cut peices all fit together perfect and everything works the way it should. If this continues I will never learn anything. I hope you enjoyed this build.