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Can We Use a CNC Wood Turning Machine to Make Chess?

Publish Date: Mar. 28, 2022 Author: Jackie Publisher: EagleTec CNC Modify Date: Mar. 28, 2022

Can we use your cnc wood turning machine to make chess? This is a question that customers ask us from time to time. At present, most people still use ordinary wood lathes (not CNC) and other simple tools to do this work. They all have excellent skills in that they can make beautiful chess on a lathe by using their feel. That's how amazing the artisans give us; their remarkable talent is admirable. With the level of advancement nowadays, some people might be wondering, is there a mechanized method for chess making that is feasible and cost-efficient?

mini cnc wood lathe for chess turning

The answer is yes. We can use mini CNC wood lathes instead of ordinary lathes. The two are basically the same in function, but they have different requirements for the operator's skills. The former requires superb computer and graphics skills; the latter requires a superior feel. In addition, CNC wood turning machines are safer than ordinary lathes.

There are six kinds of chess pieces total: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, and King. The pawn can be wholly produced on a woodworking lathe; the other five pieces can only be partially made with a lathe because each design requires some detail except for the pawn.

Let's take a closer look at them one by one.


Since this piece is cylindrical and symmetrical, it can be fully machined by a cnc lathe.

Schematic diagram of turning parts of chess pawn rook knight


For the rook, we can get all work possible from the CNC woodturning lathe, except for the slots on the head. How to make the slots then? A good practice is to do it manually because these are simple in nature and not at all with the complexity of the knights’ details (eye, mouth, etc.).


Its base can be turned. Since the head is not based on a cylinder, this part cannot be turned on a lathe. Due to the complexity of the knights’ details (eye, mouth, etc.), it might not be easy to do it by hand. How could we machine-make the head part? The 4 axis cnc carving machine or a 5 axis router would be ideal for this work.


Analogically, we can get all work possible from the cnc lathe, except for the slot on the head. Identical to the rook, the slot can be crafted by hand.

Schematic diagram of turning parts of chess bishop queen king


Without a doubt, it has the most intricate detail among all the chess pieces, and that is the top of the crown part. So, others can be turned on a wood lathe turning machine except for that part. About the crown top, it could be handmade or mechanized with a 5 axis cnc.


The base and a majority of the head part can be turned. Only the small detail on the top requires handmade or cnc milled.


If you are looking for quality wood cnc lathes with best support, please don't hesitate to contact us

Original Post from EagleTec CNC

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