Fun at any age.
Step 1: Intruduction
This is a large scale version of the old children's game "Connect 4" or "4 in a Row" for use in a playroom, nursery, school, or the garden. Firstly I made this mostly from wood found within my workshop so although I have produced below a materials and sizing list the thicknesses of the wood are not critical as long as you size up or down accordingly.
If you want a larger game board you could add a sixth horizontal row but that of course would mean cutting an extra 7 holes and 8 disks!
Step 2: Material List
Materials (all sizes in metric cm/mm)
Base Boards - MDF Sheets x 2@1040 x 600 x 10
Insert slips - pine strips x 2 @ 600 x 40 x 12
Insert slips - pine strips x 6 @ 600 x 20 x 12
Legs - pine x 2 @ 900 x 50 x 20
Leg Base - pine x 2 @ 500 x 60 x 25
Leg supports - pine X 4 @250 x 50 x 25
Box - pine x 1 @ 1040 x 100 x 20
Box - pine x 2 @ 1040 x 50 x 20
Box - pine x 1 @ 1000 x 50 x 20
Disks - MDF x 35 @ 120mm diameter and 10 mm thickness
Disk Flap - Pine x 1 @1040 x 45 x 10
I decided to make my disks with a 120mm diameter which means that the holes in the MDF Sheet need to be cut with 100mm diameters (to prevent them from falling out). Please pay attention to this sizing when setting out the MDF sheets for cutting. If you change the disk sizes (perhaps because you have different sized hole cutters) you will need to adjust the MDF sheet measurements. The only definite size is that the disks must be bigger than the holes! Note: 8mm Plywood sheets could be substituted for the MDF just adjust the Insert slips to 10mm thick.
Step 3: Setting Out
Lay the two sheets of MDF on top of each other and clamp them together, ensuring that the corners are square. This should be easy as MDF in machine cut extremely accurately. Then draw a line at each end 40mm in from the end - this is where the wider insert slips go, Note: the right hand line should be at the 100cm point measuring from the left. Starting from the left hand side draw a vertical line at the 10cm, 24cm, 38cm, 52cm, 66cm, 80cm, 94cm points - these are your centre point lines for the holes.
Now to mark the vertical cross-points start at the bottom of the left hand line drawn at 40mm and mark off vertically at the 6cm, 18cm, 30cm, 42cm, and 54 points. Do the same at the right hand 40mm (in from the edge) point and them join up the marks horizontally across the sheets. Note: If the MDF sheet that you bought was wider than these measurements do not worry the excess will be cut off later and used to make the 12cm disks - (my sheets were 1200 x 600 mm sheets).
Step 4: Cutting the Game Board
Having successfully marked out your base boards use a hole cutting drill to cut out the 35 holes still keeping the sheets tightly clamped together. Place the 100mm hole cutter in the drill. An electrically powered drill is better for this task than a battery drill as they cut with a higher rotational speed giving cleaner cuts. The secret with a hole cutter is to get the drill up to its maximum rotating speed before presenting it to the wood and to use a slight rocking action to prevent the drill sides becoming clogged with the sawdust and them charring. Lift the drill out frequently to clear out the sawdust. If the teeth of the cutter get clogged up wipe them with a wire brush before continuing to cut.
You may find using a drill the same size as the hole cutters pilot drill to make a pilot hole through each of your marked centres make the hole cutting easier as there will be less friction. This might depend on your level of skill and/or the quality of the hole cutter drill bit Having cut all 35 holes you will be left with 70 disks, unfortunately they are too small to use as the counters for this game so lay them aside for another project, three stuck together and shaped make great tractor wheels for a wooden toy. Cut the sheets to 104cm in length. Note: I waited until this point as the extra sized sheets aided clamping.
At this point I applied a coat of varnish to both sides, not forgetting the hole edges.
Step 5: The Legs
The Leg brackets.
Take one end piece and the leg base and mark the centre of the leg on the outside side, then draw a line across the centre of the base piece on each side. Drill a pilot hole on either side of the base piece and countersink the holes. Clamp the end piece upright and screw down the base piece forming a t-shape. Turn the base upright again on top of the bench and pilot drill and counter sink a bracing piece onto each side - see photo. The angles were cut at 45 degrees. Drill and countersink three holes from the outside of each leg at 6, 30.5, and 55cm, from the top.
Make the other leg in the same way.
Step 6: Assemble the Box
Lay the 5 pieces out on the bench and mark, drill, and countersink, pilot holes in the base including one hole in the centre of each end piece. Mark, drill, and countersink, pilot holes at the ends of each side piece to attach the end pieces.
Now is the time to paint/varnish the legs and the box.
Step 7: Disk Cutting
Now using a hole cutting drill bit 2cm smaller than the last one cut 34 disks (I used a 100mm cutter). Sand and round over the edges of the 34 disks and paint 17 in each colour.
To sand and round over the edges place a bolt with two washers (one on each side) and a nut on the disk and turn at slow speed in a Pillar Drill moving the sanding block against the edge as the disk rotates. (See photos).
Any two colours will do just as long as they are clearly different colours and not just two shades of the same colour
Step 8: Fianl Assembly
Attach the Disk Flap to the MDF using two small hinges. Place the hinges at each end so that the hinge screws go into the 4cm insert slip - see photo. Attach two magnetic catches/hook and eyes on the MDF/Flap to keep it in position during play - see photo.
Place the box between the legs, it should sit on the inside edge of each base piece, and screw in in place from the outside of the leg. (Note: drill and countersink as necessary).
Now attach a scrap of wood to the inside of each leg bracket (see photo) 61cm from the top of each leg. Place the sheets between the leg brackets balanced on the scrap wood supports and screw in 55/60mm screws using the three holes drilled in the leg in Step 4.
Step 9: Trial Run
Place the coloured disks in the box/tray and select two children at random to do a trial run.