Laser Cut Two-Sided Checkers




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When I was brainstorming with amandaghassaei on things that could be laser cut or 3D printed, I thought it would be fun to do checkers.  I mean, they are just circles, so how hard can it be?  Then I remembered checkers are double sided.  I thought I would have to give up on this idea until I found out how accurate the laser cutters are.  And so my adventures with checkers began :)

After making these I realized I didn't have a checker board!  So I made on.  Check it out here!

I made this at Techshop in SF!

Step 1: Design and Prepare for Cutting

It is time to design your checkers.  
  • Decide on your size (I found most checkers are 1 1/4 inch in diameter so that is what I went with)
  • Decide on two designs (front and back) that can be alternated (one will be mostly bold engraving while the other will be just engraved lines to differentiate).
  • If you want all the checkers the same make sure you have different stains for each team.
  • Once you have your design, make one document with all of the regular side of the checkers.  Line them up as shown in Photo 2.
  • Make a new document and line up your kings as shown in Photo 3.
  • Now you are ready to laser cut your checkers!

Step 2: Cutting

Here are some tips on cutting your checkers.
  • You need a board that will fit no matter what way you put it in the laser cutter (like a square).
  • Cover both sides of your board with tape.  Since you are etching on both sides, you want both sides to be protected from burn marks
  • If one of your sides designs (regular or king) doesn't reach the edge, do that one first and do not cut them out yet.
  • Flip your board so the top edge is now along the left side and vice versa.
  • Now etch the design that does reach the edge.
  • Now cut them out.  Cut them out last no matter what or you will obviously not be able to flip the board easily to etch the other side.

Step 3: Stain

Now you need to make sure you pull all of your tape.  Don't forget to remove any and all before doing any staining.  I actually forgot to remove three little pieces and now I have to fix that one .

Use your stain or your Polycrylic and protect all your checker pieces from all the action they will be getting in the future.

I put the Polycrylic on both flat sides and all around the checkers, but I only put one coat on each surface.

Step 4: Play

Have fun playing checkers!

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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    These look great! What is your technique for lining up the two sides? I have a hard time getting things to line up perfectly.

    1 reply

    I just tried to make sure my designs lined up in the document I made. I think they were best lined up in the corner and maybe got off the tiniest bit as it went out and got further from the start point.

    One way to do this that I didn't think of at the time (I was very new to laser cutters) is to etch one side, cut them out, then flip them over in the board (so the holes hold them in place) and then etch the other side.

    My way worked for me, but etching, cutting, etching again might be the best way to do it.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    i hear you!
    the nearest TechShop is on the other side of the world from me.. ;-(

    They do have laser cutters here, but usually in advertising companies that makes stickers, neon boxes, and billboards... and they charge per item, i've done some stuff with them for leather tags..
    I'd "guesstimate" they'll charge about 1$ for each checker here.. :(

    Oh TechShop... I wish you were here..
    I'd volunteer to run the place if you want to open a branch here!!!
    I'd have lots of fun and make so many instructables..


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    *ahem*... Where's the Instructable for laser cut leather tags? :P

    If they open a TechShop here, I figure I'll get a night job as a "security guard" (hey, someone has to "watch" the equipment). :-)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    i couldn't make the instructable because i didn't do it.. i only gave the logo from a client and pieces of leather to this company and they did the rest..
    no fun at all, i tell you!! :)

    oh.. security guard is a better idea.. i might go with that one too.. :)
    Is there an instructable for "How to get a security guard job at TechStore" ?


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Which kind of tape did you use?
    Something like paper tape?

    thankx in advance,

    1 reply
    Penolopy Bulnickschildpad

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    I was told it was like blue painters tape, but in a larger form, it came on a huge roll :)