Rolling TicTacToe Game




Introduction: Rolling TicTacToe Game

Hi everyone!

In this Instructable I'm gonna show you how to make a Wooden Tic Tac Toe game.

It's a simple game that can be built in lot and lot of different ways, indeed recently I made another version that you can see here. I made it because I wanted a small game easy to bring always in my bag in order to have fun with my university friends between the different classes. I really like it, it works great and thanks to the magnets I haven't lost any of the 10 pieces be honest I don't like its asymmetry due to the 10th piece located in one side of the base.

So...I decided to make a completely different version with just 9 pieces. This version can work without the 10th piece because each one of the 9 pieces has 3 faces (one it's empty, the other one had the X, and the last one has the O). As you can see in the video below, these 9 pieces are free to rotate over a dowel that is glued to the base.

P.S. If you like this ible, please vote for me in the contests that I entered. I really appreciate it!!

Step 1: Materials & Tools


- 9x (2,5x12,6) pieces of wood for the base (9mm thick)

- 40cm wooden dowel for the axes (6mm of diameter)

- 28cm wooden dowel for the 9 pieces (2,8cm of diameter)


- handsaw

- drill (6mm drill bit)

- wood glue and clamps

- sanding paper of different grits

- stain or protective spray

- router (optional. see step 7-12)

Step 2: Transform a Cilinder Into a Triangular Prism

I made the 9 triangular pieces transforming a 2,8cm wooden dowel into a triangular prism with a plunge router.

It's a simple-but-complicated process that can be skipped in different ways, but I visualized that in my mind so I went for it. You could avoid this method buying directly a equilateral triangle-shaped piece of wood (I don't know if they sell it) or simply by using small blocks of 2,8x2,8cm (1cm of thickness) that can be kept vertically (to symbolize the empty square) or can be rotated to the X or O face; or you could use directly the 2,8cm wooden dowel cut in 9 pieces on which you can draw the X, the O, and leave an empty space.

Step 3: Mark the Equilateral Triangle

In order to transform the dowel into a triangular prism first of all we need to mark an equilateral triangle onto one face of it.

To do that start by drawing a circle of 28mm of diameter on a sheet of paper. Then use a compass to mark the 60 degrees and draw 3 lines that passes through the center of the circle (photo#4).

Lay the dowel onto the circle and transfer the 3 lines to it making 6 marks.

Finally connect the opposites marks two by two (photo#6) and draw a perpendicular line on 3 of the 6 lines at 6mm from the edge (photo#1).

Step 4: Make a Quick Flattening Jig

Now it's time to build a quick flattening jig. I built mine using scrap pieces of wood that I saved from previous projects. It will be useful to secure the dowel in place in order to flatten it on 3 different angles to create the triangular prism.

To secure the front of the dowel I drilled a half circle on a block of wood (photo#2). Then I screwed it to a scrap flat piece of melamine and I drilled a hole in the center of the dowel (deep just 2cm) in order to be able to clamp it to the block using a L clamp (photo#4).

To secure the back of the dowel instead, I simply screwed the dowel onto two pieces of wood in order to secure it in place in level (photo#3/5).

Step 5: Create the First Side of the Triangular Prism...

Secure the dowel to the jig using the L clamp on the front and a screw on the back. Then screw a couple of blocks to the base of the plunge router completing the flattening jig.

Be sure that one line on the face of the dowel is aligned to the line marked in the center of the block on the front of the jig like in photo#1 (actually in that photo seems that it's not aligned correctly, but that's just an optical illusion. the dowel sticks out 4mm from the support so the marks don't seem aligned).

Lower the straight bit until it reaches one line of the triangle creating the first side of the triangular prism (photo#3).

Step 6: ...Repeat With the Second One...

Rotate the dowel and repeat the same process in order to create the second face of the triangular prism, but be sure to add a couple of "D shaped" wooden pieces to compensate the removed material.

Step 7: ...and With the Last One

Repeat the same process for the third side of the prism (again, remember to add other two "D shaped" pieces).

As I said in the 2nd Step, all of this steps can be avoided simply by using other shapes instead of triangles, specially if you don't have the right tools.

Step 8: Cut the Prism in 9 Pieces

Once that we have our triangular prism, we can cut it in pieces of 27mm.

To do that as straight as I could, I clamped a stop block to the miter box at 27mm from the edge.

Step 9: Drill Them in the Center

Now it's time to drill a hole of 6mm in the center of all the 9 pieces.

As you can see from the pictures, in order to make 9 holes in the same position I built a quick jig with scrap pieces of wood.

Step 10: The Last Details

Finally it's time to decorate them with the X and the O.

I recently bought some cool stamps with black and red ink but for this project I decided to use 10mm sticky letters. I had just black and white letters but I solved that problem simply by coloring the white X with a red sharpie.

Step 11: The Mitered Joints

Now we need to build the base. Cut eight pieces of 2,5x12,6cm from a 0,9cm board.

(are you wondering why 0,9cm instead of 1cm or why 12,6cm instead of 12,5cm? Well, that just because I used scrap materials found in the shop of a friend of my grandfather so all the dimensions of my pieces are kinda strange)

Let's work on four pieces. Set a stop block on the miter box at 12,6cm and repeat a 45° cut two times per piece.

At this point you should get what you can see in the center of the 1st picture; a frame made by four pieces with mitered joints.

Step 12: The Dado Joints

Now it's time to create two dados of 0,9cm per piece.

The shorter/inner faces of the frame pieces measure 10,8cm. The dados must be located 3cm from each side.

I made them with a plunge router. First of all I screwed a wooden panel to the metal edge guide of my router (photo#2). I set the straight bit 2mm high, then I measured 3,9cm from the fence to the edge of the straight bit and I pushed the four pieces along the wooden panel (one by one) creating the groove.

TIP: use a scrap piece behind the workpiece to prevent tear-outs (photo4/5).

Since I had just a straight bit of 5mm, I had to make two passes per groove (the first one at 3,9cm from the fence and the second one at 4,3cm). In the 1st photo you can see that with this method I was able to make very accurate grooves that fits perfectly.

Step 13: Cut the 4 Central Pieces to Length

Now it's time to cut the remaining four pieces of the base to the right length. To do that I "clamped" together the frame pieces with paper tape, and I measured the distance between the opposite grooves with a ruler (photo#1).

Then I set a stop block on the miter box at 11,2cm (the measure from the grooves) and I cut the four pieces to the same length. As you can see from the 3rd picture, they fit perfectly in the frame.

Step 14: The Half Lap Joints

Let's keep working on these pieces making half lap joints to transform them into an #hashtag.

As you can see in the 2nd photo I inserted the four "hashtag pieces" into the grooves of the frame and I made four marks per piece. Then I transferred them to the side face using a combination square.

We need to cut half of the eight marked sections (photo#3). I removed the most of the material using a scroll saw and I used a file until I got the perfect fit.

Step 15: Glue the #Hashtag in the Frame

I made the "mistake" of gluing all the pieces together before drilling the holes for the 6mm dowels. It's not a real mistake...but it would have been a lot easier to drill all the holes before gluing all the pieces together.

So... I applied glue on all the joints and I clamped them in position for a couple of hours. The day after, I sanded the base with different grits of sanding paper until every surface become smooth to the touch.

Step 16: Drill the Base

AGAIN... if you want to be smarter than me, drill the pieces BEFORE gluing them!

Since I did it wrong, I had to use the drill press making two holes each time (I have a small drill press that has just 5cm of drilling depth). I also had to put a scrap piece of wood in the holes to prevent tear-outs (photo#2).

At the end I sanded everything using a palm sander with the long-tip attachment.

Step 17: Test All the Pieces

Before gluing the dowels in place, be sure to dry fit all the pieces in order to be sure that everything works correctly.

As you can see from the 2nd picture, the faces of the triangular prisms should be flush with the top of the base.

Step 18: Assemble It

Once we have all the different parts completed, we can assemble them together.

Insert the 6mm dowels through the base and the prisms and also add two small metal washers per triangular prism (photo#2). I finished the wood glue so I secured the three dowels to the base using CA glue.

NOTE: you have to glue just the dowels to the base. don't glue the dowels to the prisms because they need to rotate freely.

Finally cut the dowels to the right length and sand the sides of the base with different grits of sanding paper until you can't feel (by the touch) the transition between the faces of the base and the 6mm dowels.

Step 19: Finish!

Apply a couple hands of protective paint, let them dry, and wrap it.

At the beginning of this project I was worried about the final result since this project involves 3 different types of joints, and it needs lot of precision; but I have to say that it came out really cool.

If you want to improve and to practice making joints, this is the perfect project.

Please support my passion by voting for me in the contests! And if you liked this project, be sure to check all of my other instructables.

Thank you for reading my Instructable. ;)
Feel free to comment and ask if you need to know something!


Wooden Toys Challenge 2016

Participated in the
Wooden Toys Challenge 2016

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8

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    6 years ago

    cute! :)


    Reply 6 years ago



    6 years ago

    Thanks for the explanation of each step, all the way. I really like this project, and now want to make one for my kids. I'll have to try this soon myself.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you very much for the appreciation! Once you made it please remember to post here an "I Made It" photo of your result


    6 years ago

    Great little game. It turned out really nice. Voted


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks very much for the vote!! glad you liked it