This Instructable shows how to make a set of chess pieces from PVC pipe and fittings. Your choice of pipe fittings may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from what is available when you shop – use your best judgement. My chess set ended up somewhat modernistic (i.e. use your imagination and squint a little). The white pieces have white, PVC, irrigation-pipe shafts; the “black” pieces have gray, PVC, conduit shafts. If you can’t get used to this subtle color difference, I suppose you could spray paint all of the black pieces. My chess board is a little small for the ½” fittings here. BTW, you could scale this up using 2”, 3”, or 4” pipes and fittings for a giant-sized set. And it could be used as an outdoor chess game.
Step 2: Materials Etc.
Materials (See photos in Step 4.)
About 6’ white, 1/2” irrigation PVC pipe (You'll have to buy a 10’ length, and you'll have plenty.)
About 6’ gray, 1/2” conduit PVC pipe (You'll have to buy a 10’ length, and you'll have plenty.)
20x 1/2” slip (female) to 3/4 “ slip (male) adapters (These will be bases for the pawns & castle tops.)
16x 1/2” slip (female) to 1/2” slip (female) connectors (These will be bases for the other pieces.)
(Buying two 10X “contractor” packs may be cheaper than buying them separately.)
4x 1/2” slip 90^o (female) connectors (These will be for the knight tops.)
6x 1/2” slip (female) to threaded (male) adapters (These will be for the bishop & king tops.)
2x 1/2" slip (female) to threaded (female) adapters (These will be for the queen tops.)
2x 1/2" threaded (female) caps (These will be for the king tip-tops.)
Cost The total will be around $25.
Tools & Methods I cut the pipes with a rotary cutter (pictured). But you could use a scissor-type cutter or a hacksaw. You’ll also need a hammer (for tapping the fittings on), some Vaseline, and maybe a file or sandpaper (for taking off burrs).
Step 3: Cut the Pipe Segments
You’ll need sixteen 2” pieces (8 white & 8 gray) for the pawns; twelve 2.5” pieces (6 white & 6 gray) for the castles, knights, and bishops; and four 3” pieces (2 white & 2 gray) for the kings and queens.
Step 4: Assemble the Pieces
Look at the pictures. Grease-up the shaft ends with a little Vaseline, and tap on the fittings with some gentle hammering. You may have to remove burrs from the pipe pieces before assembly.
That’s it, you're done – no gluing required!