Chess Set

A number of years ago I turned myself a chess set as an exercise in learning to program Mazatrol (Up to that point I was predominantly a Fanuc/G-Code kind of guy). I had just started work for someone who had a Mazak QuickTurn sitting there, and he asked if I could run it, to which I answered, ‘Sure, give me two weeks ;)’.

At a later date perhaps I’ll write an article exploring the differences between G-code and Mazatrol, but today is not that day, today is about Chess Sets.

So anyway, I’m playing around with this piece of expensive machinery, figuring out what button does what, and figure why the hell not make myself a chess set while I learn to program it.

One of the jobs that was run on it used 16mm 304 Stainless, and there were a ton of offcuts, so I decided to practice on those and the following is what I came up with as far as a design.

So without further ado, here are some sexy close-ups.

These then went into a box where they rattled around for several years waiting for me to finish them off.

I eventually returned to work for the same company I first turned them at and got to chatting with the guy they use for powder coating. I asked about the cost to powder coat them half and half black and clear (for consistency of finish), normally he said it’s $80 per colour, but he’d slip them both through for the same cost.

Sweet, I thought, and ponied up the cash.

The black ended up like so.

The final two things needed were a board, and some sort of pads for the bottom of the pieces.  The board was simple, as someone had gifted me a shotgun checkers set a while ago, and though I’ve never played it, the board itself was a nice glass one and the perfect size to boot.

For the pads, I went for overkill, because I can.  To powdercoat, they need to have something to put the pieces on, so the easiest thing for them was if I drilled a 5mm hole, 10mm deep on the bottom of each one for them to place on a tree they have.  Which of course left an ugly that needed to be covered.

I picked up another piece of 16mm stainless, popped it in the lathe, drilled a 14mm hole in the middle, then turned the remaining 1mm lip into a razor edge, honed it on an oil stone, and used it as a punch to cut myself perfect circles of felt to glue onto the bottom.

Resulting in this…


And finally, all come together


I am super proud of this project, unfortunately it has yet to be christened, as it seems hard to find people who I meet up with in person who enjoy chess.

I have been asked by a number of people if they could purchase, so I’ll just put this out there as a rough ballpark figure, subject to me actually being bothered putting in the time to do a proper quote that provided I could get enough interest to make 10 of them, I would probably sell for between 300-400, not including case or board.

Peace out.


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