This article will show you how to make a LED chess set from epoxy resin. This project is perfect for those who like to tinker with electronics and want to learn more about the basics of soldering, as well as 3-D printing.
The instructions are easy enough that anyone can follow them, even if they have no prior experience in these fields.
Steps Of How To Make A Led Chess Set From Epoxy Resin
First, gather your materials. You will need a clear casting resin such as Castin’ Crafts ‘Epoxy Resin’, emery paper or sandpaper, super glue/epoxy, and fine grain sea salt (optional).
Next, print out the chessboard template from Thingiverse to scale on regular printer paper.
Then tape it together with scotch tape so you can see where all of the squares are located in reference to each other [for example: if square A is at the top left corner then its opposite square B should be at bottom right].
This way when we pour our epoxy into a container later we know exactly where every piece belongs without having to guess! Also, keep in mind that I used about 40 squares per inch.
Now tape the chess template to a sheet of clear acrylic, glass, or perspex plastic at least one centimeter larger than your board on all sides so that you can trace around it with a sharpie marker and cut out the inside.
Cut off any excess pieces that hang over too far from where we’ll be pouring our epoxy later. We don’t want this stuff getting in the way when we pour!
Once done carefully remove your taped-up paper template from its backing and place it securely onto the top side of what will become your bottom layer chess piece container (the entire surface area should have been completely covered by scotch tape).
We are going to need a container into which we will pour our epoxy resin later.
I used an empty glass pickle jar because it was nearly the perfect size and had a nice wide opening for pouring but you can use whatever you have available as long as it’s safe, durable, and close to this shape/size (a mason jar would work great too).
Remove all labels from your chosen vessel if any exist. Once done carefully place your clear plastic chess piece template on top of the opening where the lid goes so that when turned upside down it fits snugly inside without falling out or moving around while we mix up our epoxy.
The last thing we want is for one of these pieces to go missing after it’s all said and done!
The Materials Needed For This Project
- A glue gun
- Epoxy resin kit
- LEDs of your choice (i.e., RGB, white)
- Flux (if you’re using LEDs that require it)
- Square board of wood or acrylic for the chessboard
You’ll also need a way to cut your board into individual squares. I used my CNC machine with a V bit, but this can be done by hand as well with careful use of a Xacto knife and patience.
Tips And Tricks For Making A Led Chess Set From Epoxy Resin
The first thing you need to do is make sure the chess pieces are well designed. You don’t want them too heavy or large because they will be hard to work with when it comes time for pouring the epoxy resin.
Make sure there are no holes in your chess set design? this can cause problems later on if not taken care of correctly now, before adding electronics and lighting effects!
Holes would only allow light inside that won’t show up through clear epoxy resin, defeating the purpose of using clear material at all.
If your design includes lights, any area where light isn’t needed should have black paint applied so as not to interfere with LED color quality or brightness either. One way around holes is to use pre-made LED chess pieces.
These will already be designed to avoid any problems with lighting, and you can just buy them off the shelf without having to worry about designing your own!
How To Pour A Resin Chessboard
Pour resin into the mold, then let it set. If you are using epoxy resin or polyester resin for this project, pour in boiling water first to remove bubbles and help them rise to the top where they can be removed by gently stirring around with a wooden stick.
When pouring into other types of molds that have small crevices or holes (such as silicone ice cube tray), cover it first with Vaseline so your chess pieces won’t get stuck inside those areas later on.
How Do I Make The Board Glow
there are different ways depending on what kind of materials you used when making your chessboard. if you opted for paint instead of clear coating, simply spray some transparent colors over it after pouring the resin. if you have a board made from wood, apply epoxy varnish or polyurethane over the surface.
Where Can I Get Clear Casting Resin
you can order online through Amazon and eBay… just search “casting resins” then select your country to find local vendors that carry it for you.
You can also check hardware stores near you as they often sell small amounts of different types of molding materials including casting resins at a relatively low price compared to buying in bulk sizes online.
How Do I Remove Bubbles
If there are still some air bubbles trapped inside, use an eyedropper with nail polish remover (acetone) to pop those out gently one by one until all spots are gone.
If the bubbles are too small to notice, you can leave it as is or even add a bit of coloring on top for some cool see-through effect.
How Do I Make Chess Pieces
there’s no exact way because this depends on what materials and molds you have available.
You can use clay, plasticine, or polymer clay if you want hard figures with fine details.
For larger chess pieces that need more durability but are still easy to mold inside molds, just simply create them from air-dry clays then coat them with several layers of clear coating after drying.
Can I Paint Resin Boards Instead
Yes! This will give your board a unique look depending on the color choices so be very creative when painting! For wooden boards, just paint over the surface then clear coat it for a shiny finish.