Introduction: Mini Light Up Chess!

I have a school elective called Tinkering. We learned how to program, wire, laser and die cut, 3D print and much more! After we have learned how to do all of this, we throw it into a final product of our choice. I decided to make a glowing chess board. Above is a picture of the finished product.

If you would like to make this then please continue! Note that you MUST (except for the optional ones) have these materials

  • 3D printer
  • Laser cutter and clear plastic (plexyglass)
  • Sharpie
  • (Optional) Construction paper
  • Arduino
  • Breadboard
  • Male to male wires
  • LEDs
  • Battery bank
  • Potentiometer
  • At least 6 by 6 wood and a way to cut it
  • (Optional) Die cutter
  • Arduino programming software
  • (Optional) Any color spray paint

Step 1: Making the Pieces

For this step you will be making the pieces.

  • Materials:
  • 3D printer and software
  • (Optional) Spray paint

I used a website called Thingiverse to find a design and a site called Tinkercad to edit it. You will need to create an account for Tinkercad but it's free. Once you have done this you export the file as a .stl and put on your 3D printing software. Once you have done so somehow get it into the 3D printer and start printing. If you have two colors of filament then I would recommend printing each sides pieces separately. If not spray paint one side a different color. Picture of pieces are above. They are 1.5 cm wide and 1.5 cm tall.

Step 2: Light It Up!

For this step you will be creating the lighting mechanism.

  • Materials:
  • Arduino
  • Breadboard
  • Male to male wires
  • Potentiometer
  • Battery bank
  • Arduino coding software

Download these files to program, wire, and learn how this works.

Now plug in your Arduino and upload the program. If your lazy then just program the LED's to light up the board with ground and voltage.

Step 3: The Board!

For this step you will make the board itself

  • Materials:
  • Apoplexy glass
  • Laser cutter (Oh, Yeah!)
  • Laser cutting software
  • Sharpie

The image above isn't as perfect as you can make the board. It is 5.5 by 5.5 inches. I laser cut the sides and the squares. Make sure the board is not slanted like mine! Then use a sharpie to color in the squares. Make sure your board is 8 squares by 8 squares. Once you have done so sand the bottom of the board. This will help with the illumination of the board because it will spread out the light pretty evenly.

Step 4: The Box!

In this step you will make the box

  • Materials:
  • Plenty of wood
  • Table Saw
  • Ruler

First things first, make sure you have at least a 2ft by 4ft by 1in board. This is more than you need but the extra is for mistakes. First cut the base slightly smaller than the board. Once you have done so cut each side 2-3 inches high. One set of sides (two) should be the same size as the board and the other should be the same size as the thickness of the two sides and the board. So you can gently slide the board on the box, it would be nice if you could route half of the top of each side. Drill a small hole in one side of the box so you can slide through the battery bank wire. My box was too short so I drilled another hole in the side for the potentiometer. Afterwards I spray painted my board black so it would look finished.

P.S. I attached the breadboard before the picture. Sorry!

Step 5: Optional: Your Name!

Again, this is an optional step that will personalize your board. If you can do this step I would recommend it.

  • Materials:
  • Die cutter
  • Paper

All you have to do for this is die cut your name onto some paper. make sure it is 4in by 2in or smaller. Once its die cut, you can color it or personalize it even more.

Step 6: Put It All Together!

This is the step in which it all comes together. Mount the programming on the box. Glue your name to the bottom of the box. Plug in the wire that goes into the battery bank to the wire. Place the board on top. Set up the pieces and ba bam! You're done! Good Job!