How to Create Your Own DIY Laser-Cut Board Game

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Nothing is as fun as playing board games with family and friends. But designing and making your own game comes close. We’ll walk you through the entire process of creating a laser-cut board game. 

laser cut board game made of wood

Benefits of Customizing Your Board Game

Creating your own board game lets you bring your laser engraving ideas to life. You can create a product that stands out by designing your own game. You'll draw in gamers looking for new and unique gaming experiences.

By incorporating many different laser cutting ideas into your project, you control the quality of the materials and the precision of the game pieces. From curved corners to your own fanciful wood engraving ideas, you can create a game that withstands frequent use and looks beautiful and professional. Present it in a custom box for greater impact. 

Design Your Board Game

Your board game design can be simple or complex. For your first attempt, you might want to try a classic game like chess or Monopoly. You can even put a unique spin on these traditional games, adding your own pieces, customizing the board, and more. Make 

How To Prepare for Laser Cutting

Select Your Materials

Depending on your engraving ideas, you’ll need different materials for different components. Some possible choices include: 

  • Game boards: For a laser-engraved board game, materials should be durable and eye-catching. Plywood, medium-density fiberboard, or acrylic are popular for laser cut project ideas because they’re sturdy and easy to etch.
  • Board game accessories: Smaller components such as tokens and game tiles require materials that can be detailed without losing structural integrity. Birch plywood is good for detailed cuts. Acrylic also works well if you want vibrant colors or a glossy finish for alternate game tokens.
  • Cards: You can create card templates, board game inserts, or holders from thin wood or acrylic.

Configure Your Laser Machine for Precision Cutting

Every laser cutter model has different capabilities and settings. You need to understand the specifications of the machine you're using, such as its power, speed, and precision capabilities, to configure it for your laser-cut games.

  • Power and speed settings: High power and low speed are suitable for thicker materials but can cause burning or excessive melting in thinner materials. Lower power and higher speed settings are better for thinner, more delicate materials. Experiment with these settings to find the right balance for each material and thickness you need in your board game. 
  • Focus and Depth: The laser's focus is important for clean cuts. The laser beam should be focused precisely at the surface of the material for the sharpest cuts. Some lasers have auto-focus features, while others need manual adjustment.
  • Kerf Compensation: Kerf refers to the amount of material that the laser removes when cutting. For precision fits, such as interlocking game pieces, account for the kerf in your design to ensure components fit together perfectly after cutting.

The Laser Cutting Process

When you’ve configured your laser, start making your laser-cut board games! Perform a test run using a scrap piece of your chosen material to ensure the settings are correctly configured for a clean cut without burning or leaving uncut sections.

Then start the laser cutter and monitor the process to make sure everything runs smoothly. The precision of laser cutting allows you to cut intricate details and complex shapes for your board game.

Once the cutting is complete, carefully remove the cut pieces from the laser cutter. Some pieces may have sharp edges or small connecting bits that need to be sanded or trimmed.

How To Assemble and Finish the Game

Fit together any interlocking parts to form the game board, boxes, or other 3D structures. Depending on the design, glue or other adhesives are used for additional stability.

Apply any finishes, such as paint, stain, or varnish, to achieve the look you want for your game. If you’re using wood, you may want to sand the pieces for a smooth, professional finish. Check each component for quality. All pieces should fit correctly, and the finishes should be smooth and even. Replace or redo any board game pieces that do not meet your standards.

Why OMTech Lasers Is Perfect for Your Laser Cut Board Game Project

OMTech’s line of high-quality laser cutters includes machines for every use. Our small desktop machines are ideal for hobbyists who want to start with laser engraving and create beautiful games. We have decades of industry experience and a friendly U.S.-based customer service team. Check out our selection of laser engravers to find the perfect machine, or reach out to discuss your needs.