Introduction: Zelda (BOTW) Secret Compartment Infinity Chess Box
100 Years Ago.....
A ravenous beast called the Infinity Ganon challenged me and my father to a chess match.... We agreed under the conditions that we only play on our Infinite Chess Set.... Being the cretin that he was, he concurred to this foolish request..... With sheepish grins on our faces, we watched him set up his last pawn and look up with a smile.... That smile, however, immediately turned into a face of horror as he watched us simultaneously activate our Infinity Chess/t and drop him, along with all of his pieces into a never-ending abyss... MUWAHAAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!
All crazy backstory's aside, we came up with the idea for this box after watching one of the slick infinity mirror videos that YouTube had been suggesting to us for days. Knowing we could twist the idea of what an infinity mirror could be, we set out to create the most Legendary Chess Box Of All Time!!!!
The wood that the framework was built with, came off of an old barn that was covered in white oak. My dad harvested the wood well over a decade ago and counted some of the tree rings finding that some of the pieces were over 100-years-old! So, in essence, this project was built with wood that is over 100-years-old, just like when Link falls asleep in the game (sorry for the delayed spoiler, in fact, this instructable might have a couple of other spoilers, so you have been warned)!
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild was one of my favorite games of all time. So in honor of its great aesthetic and terrific gameplay, we equipped this project with more features than Link's satchel! Complete with an infinity chess board, secret riddle compartment, hidden key spring drawers, and Breath of the Wild wood-burned etchings, this project took us a really long time as we screwed up some of our cuts early on in the build. However, with a little persistence and family patience :) we managed to get it done.
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Step 1: Materials and Dimensions
- 6 board feet Wood from 100-years-ago OR some wood from your local lumberyard (probably the second option.)
- Glass Chess Set (Make sure you choose one where the darker squares allow for plenty of light to shine through them, otherwise it will kind of obscure your view of the infinity effect).
- 1/16" Sheet Metal (Make sure it's very flexible)
- One 3" Spring
- Two 1/4" screws for the metal latch
- One Welding Rod
- Glass Sealant
- Black Oil-Base Paint
- Table Saw
- Box cutter/Utility knife
- Combination Square
- Dato blades
- Chop Saw
- Nail Gun (1'' to 2" brad nails)
- Glass Cutter
- Table Router (1/4in round over bit)
- Belt sander (hand or table)
The dimensions of our box are based almost entirely off of the size of our glass chess board which is 13" 3/4" on every side. The small differences that you see in the picture above are to account for overhangs and dadoes that we incorporated into this box. The size of your drawers will depend on the size of your chest pieces. If their not deep enough your drawers won't be able to close.
Step 2: Cutting Your Mirror
Take it from us, just buy a mirror that is already cut to the size you need or find an old mirror and cut to size. It took us forever to get a piece that was reasonable without it fracturing somewhere inside the piece that we needed. Just watch the video if you want to see two fools struggle.
I think that our main problem was that the first mirror that we tried to cut was too thick. Once we switched over to the one that we used in our last video which you can check out here, we had no more problems with any runaway cracks. Make sure to tap underneath the glass all the way along the scored line of the glass (you will see the mirror slightly begin to crack along the scoreline and that's all you will need before attempting to crack the glass.)
The best method that we found to work best, was to get the fracture lines as deep and symmetrical as you can so that when the glass does eventually break, it cracks in a nice straight line.
Step 3: Assembling the Base
As it turns out, we actually had a little more than I thought of our old barn wood left over. Instead of being able to only build one small project out of the leftovers, I reckon we can get two! Comment below if you have an idea what we should use the rest of it for next time.
Since this wood was really old, we obviously had to square it all up on the planer, jointer, and table saw. After that, we picked out all of the pieces that we were going to use for our pedestal and then glued/clamped them all together. Once they were dry, we cut it to size leaving a 1" overhang all the way around the chess box. To give it more of an aesthetic look, we took it to our table router and put a nice 1/4" rounded edge all the way around it.
Step 4: Creating Your Sides
For our sides, we cut them all to around 14 1/8" long by 6" high by 3/4" thick so that our edges would have enough room for our dadoes to support the checkerboard. In our original plans, we meant to have dadoes all the way around the perimeter of our box. But because we accidentally cut two of the sides to different lengths, we had to scrap two of the dadoes and just glue on some trim pieces after we were all done. As a small side note, don't glue and nail these pieces together yet as you'll need to cut out drawer slots in at least two of them in the next step.
To be fancier, we could have put angle cuts on all of the corner pieces, but we uhh..... felt a little bit lazy that day.
Step 5: Drawer Slicing
Before you glue and nail all of your sides together, make sure to cut out 2 drawers on opposite sides of the box to store your chess pieces. The size of these drawers is up to you depending on your needs and wants. These will help in hiding your secret compartment as well as serving as a convenient storage space for your chess pieces.
All of the sides of these drawers were made out of the same barn wood that we used for the sides. However, the bottoms of these drawers were made out of a small sheet of 3/8" plywood. We chose to use this type of plywood because the barn wood was way too thick (it was about 3/4" thick). If we would have tried to use it, there wouldn't have been enough room for our chess pieces to sit safely in the drawers.
For our handles, we ended up deciding to put trim pieces from some of the leftover scraps around the edges of our drawers instead of dowels to act as our handles.
Step 6: Mirror Platform Construction
To support the regular mirror, we glued and nailed two 1/2" by 1/2" trim pieces inside of our box about 3" from the top all the way along two sides. You want a semi-deep cavity so that you can easily install your LEDs. We then placed some old pine paneling strips cut to size across these two miniature beams. These pieces don't have to fit tightly together all the way across your square. As long as they are strong enough to support the mirror, you should be good.
Step 7: Mirror Trim
To hide the edges of our jagged mirror, we cut 4 more strips of our 3/8" plywood to fit the cavity of our mirror bed. We can't install these until later on in the build. But make sure you account for the depth of your mirror in the width of the strips. If you don't cut your boards to fit the cavity when the strips are resting on the mirror, your trim pieces will stick up about a 1/4" above the resting place for your chess board.
You'll also want to paint these strips with black oil-based paint as any unwanted reflected light in the mirror box will obscure the infinity effect this also helps your LED strip stick better.
Step 8: LED Access Points
In order for our LED's to make it to the inside of our box, we had to make 3 holes in our box. One for the USB on the outside (this one we cut to fit perfectly around our USB so that it wouldn't get stuck inside the box), one on the platform/inside of the box, and one on our secret compartment panel that I will be getting to in a second.
Step 9: Magnet Fasteners (Optional)
This one is optional because in hindsight we could have left it out due to the fact that we ended up installing spring locks to keep our drawers inside the box. But if you're feeling courageous, take 4 small neodymium magnets and embed them into two wooden blocks of any size that will fit inside the middle of your drawers without hampering their fit. Then matchup 4 other small magnets and embed them on the backsides of your drawers.
Make sure that you embed them with the proper poles facing towards their corresponding counterparts. Because if you glue them in with the wrong sides facing out, the drawers won't attach to the wooden block. We also found that mixing wood glue and sawdust helps the magnet fit tighter in their recessed holes. Since most drill bits won't fit the size of most magnets, getting them to fit snuggly can be tricky.
Step 10: WoodBurning
Because Breath of the Wild is probably my favorite game of all time, I took the liberty of really going all out on giving it a Zelda-like physique. This part is entirely optional, but in my opinion, if you're going to craft anything, make sure that you do it in style!
Breath of the Wild was the first video game in the series to incorporate its own written language into the game. I translated this language with an online manual and then inscribed a message onto the rim of the pedestal so that anyone who is willing to translate it will be left with a message that will guide them towards the secret compartment hidden underneath the infinity mirror.
As for the pictures that I etched in (don't hate me, I am not an artist), these came from pictures that I found online. I did my best to replicate each picture's object without actually copying it. With time I think I will get better at drawing these things with proper proportions, but for now, I am just going to keep working at it.
Step 11: The Secret Compartment
Underneath our infinity mirror, there was a space of about an 1 1/2" that we used as the area for our secret compartment. To conceal this spot, we created a small piece of 1/4" plywood cut to size with several more neodymium magnets embedded in the top. We then attached this board to the underside of our mirror bed with more neodymium magnets embedded in the box itself.
I would suggest going with something thinner than a sheet of 1/4" plywood though as we had to use a lot of magnets to suspend it above the drawers.
Step 12: Drawer Locks
Probably the most complicated part of this build, the locks for this project were a homemade concoction of a piece of 1/16" sheet metal and one 1/2"wide and 1/2"long metal spring. As for the sheet metal, dad cut it into 2" Long by 1/2" wide rectangles and then bent them into about a 45-degree angle to start with then we bent it down on the spring to the desired spring reaction. They were then placed inside a notched out groove that we made with our Dremel in the ceiling of the drawer compartment. A part of the spring was then placed inside the bent piece of sheet metal and then secured with a screw. We then had to add a block inside of our drawers so that the sheet metal had something to latch onto.
In order to unlock these drawers, we had to make a key out of a welding rod and then drill two holes into each drawer leading directly to the sheet metal. The holes are very tiny and underneath the trim pieces, so no one will ever see them. When the key enters the hole, the sheet metal is depressed so that the drawers can be pulled out.
The hiding spot for our key was in a small little nook that we carved out with our Dremel so that the key would always be with the box.
Step 13: Bottom Mirror and LED Installation
To secure our regular mirror, we used a tube of glass sealant and ran it along the boards for our mirror. Once the mirror had finished drying, we fished our LEDs up through our access points, nailed our pre-made black trim pieces into the sides of the box, removed the adhesive layer, wrapped it around our box, and then cut off the excess.
One small tweak that we would make if we could do it over again, would be to wrap multiple layers of LEDs around the box. I've seen this done in other infinity mirror builds and it seems to make for a much brighter tunnel.
Step 14: One Way Mirror Installation
Before you attach your top piece, it is very important to clean both mirrors thoroughly as any dust or smudges will be pretty much permanent. Once you've cleaned both pieces of glass, you can attach the one-way mirror film to the side with your checkered pattern. This way, the checkered pattern won't wear off over time. Then you're free to place the one- way mirror in the dadoes that you cut out earlier. Make sure not to seal this one down like you did with the regular mirror otherwise you'll never be able to replace your LEDs.
We accidently removed our original checkerboard with brake-cleaner (don't ask.....). So if you're curious as to how we repainted with the gold overlay, you can check out the video above.
Step 15: Finishing Up
If you've stuck with us this long, it's time to just sit back and enjoy the infinite tunnel that awaits your future opponents!
Runner Up in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018