While there are a thousand ways to make a bolt based chess set, the following is the process I used.

 

The Base

The key to this chess set is this base shown here. It consists of a 3/8 nut welded to a 3/8” washer.

Warning !!!!

The 3/8” nut and washer I will be using is zinc coated, so precautions need to be taken.

When you weld a zinc coated piece of steel, it produces some zinc oxide fumes. How much depends on how much you are welding.

For this reason I recommend the appropriate respirator with plenty of ventilation. There are plenty respirators out there that will fit under your welding helmet.

In my case I will be using the downdraft table built into my CNCCS machine.

The Welder

While I own several welders, I will be using this Titanium FLUX125 welder from Harbor Freight. Its tiny, and has plenty enough power for a project like this.

In addition, I have found DC flux core welding to be very effective when welding dirty or coated metal.

Shown here are the settings I used to weld the nut to the washer.

V = C

Wire Speed = 5

The Weld

I insert a bolt into the nut so that I can hold it in place while I do the weld.

I place a small weld (Tack) at every other flat in the nut.

Since I knew I would be using this base for other projects, I decided to make a jig, that would allow me to weld four parts at a time.

Eventually I created the 32 bases shown here.

I sanded the bottoms to make sure they were flat, and removed any burrs on the washers.

The Pieces

The individual pieces are made up by attaching 3/8” hardware to the base as shown here.

The base is secured with a 3/8” nut on all the pieces.

The following is a list of each of the components and the hardware that I used to create them.

The Pawn

From the bottom

  • 3/8” x 1” Full thread carriage bolt

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

The Rook

From the bottom

  • 3/8” x 3” Full thread carriage bolt

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 5/16” Washer

  • 3/8” Square nut

The Bishop

From the bottom

  • 3/8” x 3” Full thread carriage bolt

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” Wing nut

  • 5/16” Washer

The Knight

From the bottom

  • 3/8” Eye (or Key) bolt with threads cut to 1”

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

Here I have marked the cutoff point for the threads.

Here I have marked where I will cut the eye.

The result.

The Queen

From the bottom

  • 3/8” x 4” Full thread carriage bolt

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” nut

  • 3/8” Washer

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” nut

  • 5/16” Washer

  • 1/2” Nut

The King

From the bottom

  • 3/8” x 4” Full thread carriage bolt

  • Base

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” Nut

  • 3/8” Washer

  • 3/4” Nut

To make the pieces look a little different, I added a 5/16” washer between the base and the 3/8” nut, as shown here.

Finishing

I used some Rustoleum hand hammered black for one side.

I used some Rustoleum hand hammered silver for the other side.

Once all the pieces were dry, I added a small felt pad to the bottom of each piece, as shown here.

Conclusion

If you decide to build these chess pieces, feel free to experiment with the hardware to get a different look.