Super Simple Settlers of Catan Board




About: I love writing, leather working, cooking, and playing board games. My short stories have been appeared in Spark, Abyss and Apex, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Stupefying Stories, Punchnel's, Kids 'Magination, a...

Settlers of Catan is arguably one of the most awesome board games you will ever play. The problem is, the game will run you about $40. Want an expansion pack? Another $20-$40.

It's worth it, of course. But if you happen to be one of the few people on this planet who A) wants to settle the beautiful land of Catan , B) doesn't want to spend $40, and C) has access to a laser cutter, then this instructable is for you.

About the board:

I have tried to make this a bare-bones version. The tiles are standard size (3 1/8" edge to edge). All of the graphics are vector-type, so they will be scored, not rastered. This makes the laser operation very fast (15 minutes or so with 1/8" thick MDF from home depot).

In the future I plan to try some fancier stuff, but if you just want to get settling as quickly as possible, this is the way to go.

Note: This instructable is for the board only.



I plan to come up with an easy way to make nice cards and gamepieces as well, and will be posting more instructables as I do so, but for now, stick with your sharpie-marked playing cards and pennies. Or, as I have done, go to a craft store, pick up some little wood pieces and card stock, and go to town with some paint and home-made stencils.

I made it at Techshop (


Step 1: Hit "Go"

That's basically all you have to do. Choose your material (card stock, plywood, or 1/8" MDF from home depot) and tell your laser to cut. If you're familiar with laser cutters, all you need to know is:

  1. The files are attached
  2. Size is 17.9" high, 20.7" wide
  3. Score the red lines
  4. Cut the black lines

If you're less familiar with lasers, here is a more detailed explanation:

There are three files attached. They are all in PDF form (which can be opened with just about any vector based program used to perform laser cuts). They are all vector files, which means they can be cut with a laser.

  • "Catan-Cuts&Scores" (contains both red and black lines)
  • "Catan-CutsOnly" (contains only the black lines)
  • "Catan-ScoresOnly" (contains only the red lines)

Here is how to use them:

  1. Open the "Catan-ScoresOnly" file. Set your laser settings such that they will only cut partway through your material. If the recommended settings for your material say to use a speed of 35 and a power of 90, for example, you could either change your speed to 90 (so that the laser moves faster and thus doesn't have time to cut as deep) or change your power to 35 (so that the laser doesn't cut as deep as it moves). Start the laser. Scoring took my laser 5-10 minutes on 1/8" MDF.
  2. Open the "Catan-CutsOnly" file. Set your laser settings such that they will cut all the way through the material. In my case, I used the same settings as I did for scoring, but repeated the cuts twice in order to cut all the way through. Cutting took my laser 10-15 minutes on 1/8" MDF.

Optionally, some laser cutters allow you to set different speed and power settings based on color. If you want to do this, use the "Catan-Cuts&Scores" file.

That's it. Stay tuned for more instructables on making cards, game pieces, and a better box to hold everything. Have fun!

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16 Discussions


2 years ago

Great instructable!!! i´ll make it!. thanks!. may i ask about the expansions? 5-6 players, or seafarers?.. do you have them?. thanks again

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Sorry, I don't have files for the expansions... it should be pretty easy to modify the base files though!


3 years ago on Introduction

Okay maybe I'm just not understanding how this works, but is there a way to download an ai file of the cut lines? The laser I work with reads ai files for productions, so I wanted to get this into illustrator, do some design work on the hexes, and then send it to the this possible?

3 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

You can easily open and edit the pdf file in Illustrator and save as an adobe illustrator file:


4 years ago on Step 1

I aim to make this, would you happen to have a similar file for the 4-6 player expansion? It would be amazing if you did!

2 replies

oh no stress! This is totally amazing as it is and I am incredible grateful that you posted this. I ordered half a dozen set made from a local laser cutter yesterday, I'm giving them away as late xmas presents.

If you want I could help out with an expansion file. It would literally be copying and pasting two extra hex pieces, and cutting the new set of pips. The tricky bit would be the 6 extra ocean pieces, they would need to be sized correctly and drawn from scratch to match the pieces in the existing file.


4 years ago on Step 1

Very nice, but I don't see any vector files attached?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Neither do I! I've tried uploading them again, and it looks like I was successful this time. Let me know if they still don't show up. Sorry about that.