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Glowing Chess Set Combines LEDs, Chess, and DIY Electronics Fun

Anyone who says that the centuries old game of Chess cannot be improved upon has obviously never played with a glowing chess board. Today we take a look at a cheap glass chess set modded to glow from within.

Instructables user Tetranitrate had a glass chess set he scored on-the-cheap and had always wanted to illuminate it in some way. He ruled out illuminating the board itself (no good way to keep track of the piece colors) and putting a battery in each piece (too big of a pain, over complicates the design).

His final solution, the one seen in the photo here, was to build a wood and copper board, run a low voltage across the surface of the chess board, and affix a conductive copper ring to the bottom of each chess piece to power the LED embedded inside. In this manner the pieces would glow on the board and then go dark as soon as they were removed from play.

Hit up the link below for additional details on the build and instructions on building your own.

LED Chess Set [Instructables]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/8/11

Comments (2)

  1. Hatryst

    Wondering if the batteries would last the span of an average chess game :)

  2. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @Hatryst: It uses a cellphone charger wall-wart for power. :) What’s kind of interesting is that the guy didn’t do such a hot job regulating the voltage as the load drops so the LEDs actually become brighter as the game progresses (and fewer pieces are on the board). Kind of a neat side effect.

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