Monday, 30 April 2018

Adding weights to chess pieces

A proper Retrogaming mod: I added weight to my cheap chess set.

This required a lot of boring stuff with a power drill and a crap selection of drill bits.

First I removed the felt, evened the surface a bit and punched entry point markers using a drill tip. Already removing the unevenness and the poor felt the pieces kept more firmly upright.

I then drilled all pilot holes with a thin 2-3mm drill. It would be good to get these straight, but as I did not want to build a setup for this I had to accept some deviation.

Then, 6mm holes. This was maybe the easiest part of the whole drilling process, as the 6mm drill cuts the material pretty easily. The drill needs a tape marker or a limiting piece to avoid drilling too far. I did think I could "feel" my way but after a couple of mistakes I had to attach the tape. A very simple measure that avoids a lot of hassle.

Not to scale
I drilled all 10mm holes using a two-piece jig to hold the piece more firmly, then inserted the screw.

The simple jig only half-does the job, I had to secure the pieces with my other hand. Luckily the piece bottoms are all the same size, not really how it ought to be, but at least this way they all fit the same jig.

The 10mm drilling was quite tough and kludgy to do, I found it useful to switch between reverse and forward gear while drilling.

It would have been much better to drill the 10mm holes before the 6mm ones to preserve the function of the pilot holes. But the 10mm is already a bit tricky with a power drill and the drill head is not the best quality. So I reasoned the 6mm holes could be done first to remove material and make it a bit easier for the 10mm.

The jig hole is covered with furniture pads, so I did not really need to unclamp the thing.
I used longer screws for the Kings and Queens so they have a teeny bit more weight to them than the other pieces.

The light bolts do not radically add weight, but it's enough to give a bit of a feel to them. For a while I thought about using some kind of lead pellets, but the screws have less work stages to consider and I already had enough of them. Even if the machine screws do not properly attach to the wood they still stay firmly enough on their own.

I also made some changes to the appearance of the pieces, I'll get back at that when the set is more finished.

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