My Boy Decided He Wanted a Custom Chess Board, So He Built One ***New Photos**


Verified SOF
Aug 29, 2008
New Orleans Area
Although my boy was born addicted to drugs (thanks to his biological mother) he has shown only a few minor physical issues and zero cognitive issues. He's a decent athlete and will likely letter in soccer and baseball. He's in both the talented theater and talented music programs here as well as Jr. BETA. He goes to a magnet program school that concentrates on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) and it turns out has a pretty good competition chess team. Oh yeah... and within a year he'll be an Eagle Scout.

While all of that is awesome, his sudden interest in woodworking and mechanics has me the most excited for his future. As I see it, these things will enable him to understand all of that STEM content even better by having real hands on experience.

Anyway, a while back he wanted to 3D print some cool skull themed chess pieces... so we did. Then he wanted a custom chess board. He showed me one that could be purchased for a couple of hundred dollars. I told him that he could build one for much less and learn a lot in the process. So... we got on AutoCAD and knocked out a plan. Then we asked the robotics instructor at the high school I teach at (who has been trying to recruit my boy) if we could use his facilities. Well... it turns out that they have an outreach program where they show prospective future robotics students how wood and metal working is important in robotics.

So... he began work on January 13th and finished very late February 2nd just in time to enter his chess board into the State Jr. BETA competition. I taught him him the safety and use of the equipment as well as the basics of wood working as he went and I allowed him to make his own mistakes and more importantly to decide what to do about them. He had some burned wood issues that he let go because the worst of it was on the inside cut of a rabbet joint. He also had a few minor tear out issues and a few minors gaps in his joinery, but all in all he did a damned nice job.

Those minor issues (that he would have corrected had he had the time) kept him from a podium at the Jr. BETA competition, but he really didn't mind. He's just really happy that he has a custom chess board on which to play. This is the completed chess board, well... almost completed. He wanted to put dividers in the drawers but ran out of time. He had milled the stock for it so I'm sure that will happen soon.



This is him during the process when I happened to think to take photos.











We ran out time and had to finish it at home with my inferior tools (which is where many of he "issues" came from).



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Tell your son he did a great job. I really love that fortressy design.

Hats off to you for such supportive parenting.
That's a great looking chess board, and even more-so plenty of knowledge and many lessons were learned on the way I'm sure. I've never forgotten the things I've learned from doing things with my father, and I'm positive your son won't either.

Not to take away from the board, but can we see a picture of those badass chess pieces too?

Not to take away from the board, but can we see a picture of those badass chess pieces too?

These are NOT my photos. I downloaded the files to 3D print these from a site called thingiverse dot com. I can't recall who created these but they did an amazing job.

I'll try to get some photos with the pieces on the board in the next couple of days.

I finally got around to taking a few photos of the board with the 3D printed chess pieces. I found these files on thingiverse dot com and downloaded them, then I showed him how to 3D print them and did some trouble shooting for him a few times.

These are in raw form with the only post-processing being the removal of the support material. I'm not sure if he's going to try the vapor smoothing technique and then paint them or not. As I said earlier he is really much more interested in making a small forge to melt aluminum cans and scrap extruded aluminum to create a lost PLA aluminum casting of the skull pieces has has now.

Anyway, I think these are pretty cool and I wish I could remember who did the initial desigh=n because they did an amazing job.