Laser Cut Settlers of Catan Board

36,209

431

36

About: I'm a Computer Engineer, graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

This is a laser cut Settlers of Catan board game I made for my brother for Christmas! It's far more durable than the actual game board, the parts don't shift around during play, and it looks much nicer in my opinion.

In terms of the materials needed, this is a pretty simple instructable:

- 1/8th inch wood (approximately 3 pieces of 18''x24'' needed)

- Wood stain

- Polyurethane

- White, blue, orange, red paint

Step 1: Draw Your Design

Using your favorite vector editor, create your design! (Or use the attached ones from CorelDraw. Note that the attached files include pieces for the Cities and Knights expansion).

*EDIT*
Shout out to user JaredB71 for cleaning up the tiles and converting them to Adobe Illustrator. I've included that file as catan_complete_board.ai. I'll keep the old files up, but I recommend using Jared's.


For this step, I used CorelDraw which worked well for me. If I were to do it over, I would change how the roads were cut since I had some overlapping lines which took an unnecessarily long amount of time to cut. Other changes would be simplifying the design on the 3rd tier knight, as it is a little too complex for such a small token and ends up engraving pretty deeply into the wood.

As you can see, there are various tokens. I will explain the basic ones for the original game, found in the tokens_original_resources_final file. The other files (tokenCutRed and tokenEngraveBlack) contain extra pieces for the Cities and Knights expansion:
- The circular tokens with a circle in the middle are the settlements

- The stars are the cities.

- The rectangles are the roads

Step 2: Laser Cut Your Design Onto Wood

There are multiple steps to laser cutting the pieces, as there are multiple files, and most laser cutters don't have room to cut everything at once.

First cut out the base. This is simply the large hexagon with nothing else in it.

Next, your hex tiles should be cut out (along with the numbered tokens). Firstly, the machine should engrave before cutting so that everything is in the proper place (as pieces can move slightly during cutting).

Cutting out the hex tiles also makes a perfect piece of wood to hold these tiles with, so keep that wood as well.

Finally, cut out all your tokens/walls. The file I have included has enough tokens for two boards/extra pieces. I would recommend keeping at least some of those extras since pieces might break during construction of the rest of the board.

For my design, the red lines are cutting and the black lines are engraving.

Step 3: Glue the Base to the Outline and Stain

I was going for a nice contrast between the actual board and the hex tiles, so I stained the board. Next, use epoxy/glue, and glue your two large pieces together. This creates a nice base where your hex tiles can rest.

Next, polyurethane both your base and all the hex tiles, as they are finished! The poly will keep the stain from rubbing off on your fingers during play, as well as make it moisture-resistant. It'll also give it a nice finish.

Step 4: Place Tiles Into Base

The hard part is done! Your ports, hex tiles, and resource numbers can all be placed in the board and swapped around to your heart's content.

Step 5: Build the Robber, Paint the Pieces

I made my robber by getting a clothespin for a dollar store and cutting it down so that it is just the round head, then I also stained and poly'd that as well. Looks quite a bit like the actual game robber!

There are a number of other pieces and tokens that I included in the files, such as small plaques for Longest Road and Largest Army that you might like to stain as well.

Now all your pieces need to be painted! For each player, they get:

- 4 Cities

- 5 Settlements

- 15 Roads

All in all, there are 96 pieces to be painted (not counting the Cities and Knights tokens!), so buckle up! Try to paint a light coat so as to keep the design underneath still visible. This is where those extra pieces come in handy, since sometimes a big glob of paint will make one token look way worse than the others.

Step 6: Play the Game!

Get some friends/family over and play the game/show off your awesome Catan board!

To organize the pieces, I bought a bunch of vinyl bags off eBay, as I thought it would add some classiness to it. If I had more time, I would have also built a box to carry the board in. I chose not to make the board foldable as I thought it would detract a bit from the feel of it, but it would definitely make it easier to carry it.

As a side note, I didn't think that the original cards really suited the aesthetic I was going for, so I quickly designed some minimalist ones and printed out all the cards needed to play the game. If you prefer the original cards, you can easily buy them off Amazon or get them from the full purchased board game, but I have included the files just in case.

2 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Toys Contest

    Toys Contest
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • First Time Author

    First Time Author

36 Discussions

0
None
DavidF300

7 weeks ago

The largest pieces of engraving quality 1/8 inch wood are 12x 24. Where can I find 1/8 18X24? I have checked Amazon and Lowes. Does plywood work? Is there alternatively a way to do this with 1/4 inch?

2 replies
0
None
JoshBakerDavidF300

Reply 7 weeks ago

Plywood is what I used. I just went to a local plywood store and got a really big sheet and cut it down to the size I wanted. Just make sure to get one with a relatively smooth surface or else the engravings will be hard to see.

0
None
projectlaser

7 weeks ago

Just a question.. the lines of the files are overlapped each other, not good vector.
Is it correct??

1 reply
0
None
JoshBakerprojectlaser

Reply 7 weeks ago

The vector file probably isn't amazing quality - it was the first time I worked with vector software. That being said, using this file it turned out fine for me! You might be able to ask Haleken (a commenter below), they said they cleaned up the files.

0
None
projectlaser

7 weeks ago

Hi i am andrew from Italy. Just downloaded the files and in few days i will made it, but with different material. Thanks for sharing. i will let you know.

0
None
VincentV68

1 year ago

Hi Josh!

Thanks for this awesome design! A quick question, in the DXF files, you engrave all tiles and cut all tiles in 1 file, except for 2 tiles. Is this for 'engraving'/stability purposes? Will share a picture soon!

1 reply
0
None
JoshBakerVincentV68

Reply 1 year ago

Hey Vincent, sorry for the late reply. That sounds like a glitch in the DXF file, I believe all tiles should have engravings!

0
None
anarnold

2 years ago

Note, you cab try wiping with white vinegar to remove some of the soot-stains before finishing the wood. (apparently its not actually soot, but burned pitch residue from the wood, and the vinegar dissovles it)

0
None
Haleken

2 years ago

I made one as well, really like the design.

But I had to work on the dxf-Files, there were too many overlapping lines.

I used pine and am going to stain it soon :)

0
None
Londonbrig0

2 years ago

I love your design, unfortunately it's not opening properly because I don't have the fonts Batang and BatangChe. Any chance you could reupload the black_engraving.cdr with the text converted to curves?

0
None
dkeeler

2 years ago

I don't have the equipment to make this, but love your design. Would you be willing to make a set on commission? If so, let me know, and maybe we can talk price. Thanks.

2 replies
0
None
quitethecontrarydkeeler

Reply 2 years ago

There are a number of sellers on etsy and the like; PrawnDesigns.com does a good job with Settlers boards :)

0
None
JoshBakerdkeeler

Reply 2 years ago

Unfortunately I'm probably not going to start selling them - that seems like a copyright infringement waiting to happen! I bet you could try finding a hobby group in your area and giving someone the designs and asking if they will make it though :). Thanks for the thought though!

0
None
JoshC10

3 years ago

I can't get files to show up. I'm using Adobe Illustrator but I should be able to open Corel draw files just fine. I see you mentioned you uploaded them in a zip file, but I dont see that either. Any help would be great!

1 reply
0
None
JoshBakerJoshC10

Reply 3 years ago

Hey, sorry for the late reply. I'm not sure where the zip went, I've reuploaded it now, I'm not on my primary computer so I can't check if they are the proper files (had it on my cloud backup) but I think it should work. Feel free to message me again if it doesnt!

0
None
nikbo204

3 years ago

Hi Josh, great intrstructable. The board and the other pieces look extremly beautiful. Of course, i am interested in making my own board, but i have some trouble opening the .cdr-files without any bugs. Will it be possible to upload the files as scalable vector-graphics file such as .svg. That would be great!

Thanks and keep posting such amazing stuff!

0
None
rutgervanbr

3 years ago on Introduction

Hi Josh, what a great board you've made!
So good I wanted to try making it myself, i was just wondering what type of wood you've used for the board?

Thanks!

1 reply
0
None
JoshBakerrutgervanbr

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Hi, thanks very much! The wood I used was birch because it is cheap and easily available where I am in Canada, but I think you could use pretty much any wood you'd like :)

0
None
jaksherry

3 years ago on Introduction

Wow...you can easily see the effort put into this. Gorgeous job!