kleebtronics CNC Coffee Table

Chessboard Coffee Table

During my Designing For Digital Fabrication class at ITP, I decided to construct a coffee table using a CNC machine and use the top of it as a game board for Chess and Go.


The table was designed with a storage compartment in mind. I used a variation on dovetail joints to hold the sides together, and cut out small half-circles in the top piece so that the game board could easily be lifted out.

The game board was etched on the CNC router. I used a jig to make sure both the chess board and go board were centered on each side.

Instead of acrylic, I decided to use liquid plastic to ensure that the surface was entirely smooth.

Unfortunately, my pouring skills were not exceptional, and I had to sand down the spillover plastic afterward.

After a few coats of finish, the table looked great!

Chess Pieces

Each chess piece was modeled after a specific percussive sound wave. I used Processing to capture a snapshot of each sound wave and saved them as PDF files. From here, I could import the files into Illustrator, trim it down to the size I wanted, then use VectorWorks to extrude the line three-dimensionally.

The only pieces I modified were the knight (bent forward to reflect asymmetrical knight shape) and the king (added a cross to the top). All of the pieces were printed on a Z Corp 3D printer, one set in white and one in black.

For the carrying case, I roughly measured the contour of each piece and created a template for the laser-cutter. The case is made up of two sheets of acrylic held together with standoffs.


Danny Rozin and the Design for Digital Fabrication class at ITP for their feedback and critique

Hannah Mishin for her advice with liquid plastic

Taylor at the Advanced Media Studio at NYU for his 3D modeling help - especially when I had no idea what I was doing at first.