lers

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This page is devoted to the wooden case that I have created to house all of the pieces, both resin and wooden, that I have created for my Settlers Of Catan 3D game. Every single piece needed to play Basic Settlers, Seafarers, and Knights and Cities and all of their 5 - 6 player expansions fit in this box. This includes all of the pieces that I couldn't make for myself and have to use from the original game such as the card decks, the flip charts, and the manuals. I have to thank my parents for practically letting me move into their garage for two months in order to make this thing. Also thanks to dad for all his help and advice and thanks to mom for all of her help sanding and all of the sandwiches!


I have separated this page into two sections. The first shows pictures of the case during its creation. The second section contains pictures of the completed case and all of the various functions it performs.

I started out by drawing designs from a front and top perspective. I wanted the case to perform many functions such as drawers, hinged doors, and hexagon slots, so I knew that the case was going to have a fairly complex structure in terms of framing and layout.
I also wanted there not to be any seams. What I mean by this is that I did not want any of the ends of the wood to show. To get around this I cut grooves in many of the joints (as you can see above) and I also cut 45 degree angles where necessary.

The grooves allowed me to hide the ends of all the wood that would be used to cover the framing and actually be visible. To the right you can see short little pieces of wood on the base on the front and back of the case at both the left and right hand sides. These will be used to mount the hexagon slots later on.

I never intended for the box to be nearly as tall as it turned out to be but the drawers dictated the height. I wanted four drawers with an open box at the top and in order to fit all of that in, I needed the case to be about 50 cm high.
You'll notice in the picture to the right that the left and right hand wall have a support running from front to back just under the top support with tiny spacers in between. The purpose of these is to give the handles (that will be added after staining) proper support. I didn't want the handles right on the top support.
Once I got most of the framing done for the drawers, I actually had to take off the side walls of the case in order to have room to get my drill inside to finish the drawer section. Drilling from the front and the back was not a problem, but from the left and the right, I had no room!
Finally, after the drawer framing was finished, I was able to put the outside walls back on and continue framing the rest of the box. I this shot there are even some veneer wood panels in place on the inside of the box. These are obviously for show but also help to keep the drawer framing square.
From this angle you may be able to notice that there are grooves running on all sides of the corner posts and bottom supports. These grooves will later be used to hide the ends of the tongue and groove planks that I will use to cover the outside of the box.
In this shot you can see the middle boxes being formed. There is a deep box in behind the drawers which will be used to hold the frame pieces for the game. There will also be a smaller box above the drawers for holding the card trays.
The framing pieces and the veneer panels weren't quite thick enough to keep the nails from penetrating the outside. So after I nailed the outside panels in. I had to grind off all of the nail ends so that they wouldn't interfere with the tongue and groove planks going in later. Hence the black marks all over the framing pieces.
From here you can see all of the different compartments that will be in the box. The tall box and the back, the drawers, and the left and right compartments which will hold. The hexagon slots, hexagon pull-out trays, and the player pull out trays which will hold the player pieces.
At long last the framing is finished and I was able to put on the tongue and groove planks. This shot also shows the finishing pieces on the top of the case that not only hides all of the ugly framing pieces and edges of veneer, but also will be where the lid for the case rests.
This is the front entrance of the box where the drawers will pull out. The hinges at the bottom is for the front door of the case which will be used for looks and will have small pockets for holding the game manuals.
These are the basic drawers. This one does not have a faceplate yet and has not yet been covered in material to protect the pieces being stored in the drawer.
Here are the drawers (some with faceplates mounted already) as well as the front door at the top left. All of the drawers have dividers spaced differently to accommodate the various pieces going inside.
This shot shows some of the components coming together. Nothing has been stained of course and the drawer faces will all have knobs and the door has not been mounted, but this is what it will look like inside. You may be able to see two thin strips of molding beside the drawers. These where made by routering the edge of a plank and then cutting off the routered tip.
This will be one of the last photos of the case without being stained and clear-coated. From this shot you can see the shorter box above the drawers. All of the panels will be covered in material, but they show what the box will look like. You can also see clearly the top finishing pieces of wood that the lid will rest on.
Okay so here's the case with some stain on it. The areas inside the box that don't have stain will be covered with panels wrapped in material. The big unstained square in the middle will be a box for holding the small frame pieces and card holders.
Once everything was stained and clear-coated, I was able to put back all of the metal tracking and hinges for the door. The left and right panels had to be left out (as you can see) so that I could put in the hexagon slots first. (see below)
This one shows the handles going on the outside of the box. For all of the handles, lid hinges, and knobs I went with a wrought-iron steel than went well with the color of stain.
Here's a shot of the hexagon slots being cut. Each slot is about 5 or 6 passes of the saw slightly farther apart. This was one of the most time consuming parts of this whole project as each side required about 25 measurements and there were a total of 16 sides to cut!
Finally I was able to go back and add in all of the panels that were covered in material. The top box is only half finished here so there is no floor yet, but it will be directly above the drawers. You can also see the taller box at the back that is not covered in material, for holding the tall frame pieces and large card holder.
At the bottom of the left and right side you can see that the floor was covered in material. The hexagon slots were covered in material and screwed down, and then the front and back panels were put in to hide the screws on the hexagon slots. With this design, everything is seamless and none of the screws show.
Here is the finished door. It is different from the photo higher up in that I have had a two-tiered slot for holding the game manuals. (Below you will see how the manuals fit.) This had to be done in separate stages because I couldn't stain and clear coat something that already had material on it.
In this photo the door has been attached and the knob put in place. As mentioned before, the knob and side hinges all match. You can also see the completed top box with a few of the pieces in it.
his is a better shot of the inside. From here you can see the top box completed. You can also see how little clearance there is between the door and the drawer faces. You can also see one of the small card holders and a few of the frame pieces. For a better look at these, check out the "Wooden Pieces" section of the "Finished Product" page.
Here's a good one of the door with the manuals. As you can see, the taller manuals go in the back with the short ones up front. I wanted there to be enough of the manual sticking out so that you can grab it, but not so much that the manuals flop over. (As a side note, the bottom drawer opens and clears the door with about 1 cm clearance! Lucky me!)
Okay, so here I have started building the lid sections for the case. I decided on a three section approach so that the weight of each lid would be easy to open and manage. The middle section has a routered front and back and the outside sections have a routered front back and side. That way, when all of the sections are closed, the whole top will look like one solid routered top. (see below)
Here are all three sections of the lid. Obviously, two have already begun the staining process. In this shot you can also see the pieces of the merchant dock being stained separately before being assembled.
Just when I thought I was finished with the actual case, I decide to add one more function. The back box with the white tracks that you see was originally for the long corner frame pieces and the five-card card tray. The only problem was that when you take out any one of those pieces, you could easily scratch the rest as you pull it out.
So, keeping with what my dad likes to call my "chinese puzzle box", I added one more moving part. I added a box that would lift out of the back, on drawer tracks, so that you could simply place each of the previously mentioned pieces in and out without dragging them along others. In this shot you can just see the top drawer face with a handle at the back of the box.
Here is that same shot except I have lifted out the back box. You can see the white track on the edges of the box. You may also be able to make out the door (currently shut) in between the white tracks. Finally, you can see that by now I have assembled the lids and attached them to the box. I used the same rope that I used for the handles of the pull out hexagon trays to prevent the lids from opening too far.
This is the back pull out box opened up. The front door, when opened, acts to keep the pull out box up so that you can reach for the pieces without having to hold up the box with your other hand. The middle lid sections rope, (not shown) goes around the left side of the pull out box and does not get in the way.
Here's a shot of the hexagon trays being assembled. This one actually one of the more complicated parts to make because I had to stain part of the wood, cover it with material, assemble it, and then stain the rest of the areas in order to fill and hide the screw holes. I couldn't just assemble the whole thing and then stain because the stain would have been too close to the material.
In this picture you can see one of the case lid sections, some of the panels for the back pull-out box, and a bunch of stained trim for the hexagon trays. These also had to be stained before assembly because they were used to hide the seam where the material wraps around the wood.
This mess all had to be wrapped with material in order to make the player trays. You can see the bigger pieces of wood which would eventually become the platform for the trophies and docks that each player had acquired.
Here are the player trays as they are starting to come together. I used a large piece of veneered wood covered in material for the base, than then used nails loaded into a staple gun from underneath to fasten the dividers. This allowed me to assemble the player trays without any visible nail heads. The framed box you see is the frame for the back pull out box.
These unstained frames that you see are the wooden edges that go around the player trays. Once again, they had to be partially stained, then attached to the trays, then stained again in order to be able to hide the screw holes that were made when attached to the trays.
And here we are. The finished case! It took me a good solid two months to get this far plus an extra month here and there plugging away at the finishing touches. But I think it was all worth it. For pictures of the inside of the case all finished and holding all of the pieces, see the finished case section below.
Okay so in this section I will be showing the finished case including a detailed look at the various compartments and the pieces they hold.
The lid of the case can be opened in three different sections. Not only does this cut down on the weight of the lid but it also allows you to only open the sections that you need to remove pieces from.
Here's the first shot of the side lid panels. I stained and glues 3D letters onto the panels that spell out Simmers Settlers. I didn't want it on the outside of the case because I like the fact that from the outside it just looks like piece of furniture.
Here we can see all three opened panels. As you can see, the left and right sides are deep pockets that hold the stackable hexagon and player trays. The middle section has the pull out drawer at the back and a shallow pocket at the front for holding some of the card trays, merchant dock, and frame pieces.
This picture shows the front door opened as well as all of the lid sections opened. The front door serves to hide away the drawer faces as well as store the game manuals.
The left had side of the case holds the hexagons for the regular game/ knights and cities game. This way you don't even have to open the right side unless you are playing a 5-6 player game or a seafarers game. You can't see the hexagons in this shot however because the player trays are stacked on top.
Here's the right hand side. It's pretty much the same as the left except it holds all of the water for the game as well as the gold mines and volcano's. To hold the lid sections open, I just used a silver rope that match closely to the hinges and knobs.
In this shot you can really see the back pull out drawer and the contents of the middle pocket. That is the merchant dock on the top along with most of the card trays and frame pieces.
As mentioned before, the door not only contains the drawers and hides them away when close, but also has two pockets for the small and large game manuals.
Now we get into the drawers themselves. All of the drawers are lined with protective material. The top drawer holds the flip charts for knights and cities, the dice, and the cards that get cut out of the seafarers manual for one of the scenarios.
The second drawer contains the seafarers chits, all of the tokens for the ports and merchant docks, and all of the miscellaneous pieces such as the robber, the pirate, the trophies, and all pieces needed for the barbarian track.
The third drawer just holds the barbarian track itself as well as a space at the back for spare parts. (I casted an extra of every piece in case I lost one...)
The final drawer has the cards for regular settlers and knights and cities, as well as the number tokens.You may not be able to tell from the picture but it is deep enough for two deck of card for each type of game. (2 red decks and 2 green decks)
Now we get into the back pull out drawer. Originally, this was just a deep pocket with no pull out drawer. The problem was that as you took frame pieces and the card holder in and out of the back pocket, they would take damage. So the drawer helps bring the pieces out of the box safely.
Once you pull the drawer out, you are then able to open the front. (Held shut by one of those retractable magnetic latches) Inside I store the large card tray along with 6 of the large corner frame pieces.
I took out a few of the pieces in the top pocket to show some of the things underneath better. You can now see the single card holder for development cards and well as the odd-shaped end piece of the seafarers frame.
This is a shot of the right hand side with the player trays removed. So in this shot you are looking at the pull out hexagon tray. You may be able to see the rope handles for removing the trays.
This is what the very bottom of the sides look like underneath the pull out hexagon trays. It is completely lined with protective material. You may also be able to see the guides in the corners to allow for a snug fit of the hexagon pull-out tray.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my Settlers of Catan 3D Case! Feel free to check out the other sections of my web site if you have not already.