Lasercut tiles for Settlers of Catan

by jmne, published

Lasercut tiles for Settlers of Catan by jmne Jan 23, 2011

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This item replaces the hexagonal tiles in Settlers of Catan with tiles that interlock. It will produce the 19 hexagonal tiles that comprise the basic set, as well as a bunch of tokens to represent the ports.


The current latest version of this file is "catan9." The attached files are:

  • catan9.cdr -- for use with CorelDraw X5
  • catan9.x3.cdr -- for use with CorelDraw X3
  • catan9.svg -- for Inkscape and everybody else

This CDR file contains three layers:

  • a "cutting" layer containing nothing but vectors for cutting
  • a "raster" layer for etching
  • a "NOTES" layer for instructions (don't print)

Thing thing requires two passes on the laser cutter: an etching pass, which takes about 45 minutes on an Epilog Helix, and a cutting phase, which takes around 15 minutes on an Epilog Helix.

Note that the "raster" layer contains some vectors. You need to either convert the entire raster layer to a bitmap (step 4 below), or else take other steps to ensure that the raster layer only etches, not cuts, your design.

Suggested build process:

  1. Materials: I've had good success using wood and cardboard for this design, and moderate success (so far) with etched acrylic.

  2. Load up the design, and scale all layers to fit your material (but don't change the aspect ratio).

  3. Test cut one of the surplus "port" tokens on the left side of the design to get your etch/cut settings right. After step 4, you won't be able to do individual token test-etches anymore.

  4. In CorelDraw, select the entire "rasters" layer and convert it to a single bitmap (invoke "Bitmaps -> Convert to Bitmap..."). By consolidating all the bitmaps into one master bitmap, your laser cutter will etch more efficiently. Also, since the entire rasters layer is now a bitmap, you can fine-tune your laser parameters to have the bitmap settings for etching, and the vector art settings for cutting.

  5. Delete the NOTES layer so that you don't accidentally cut it.

  6. FIRE THE LAZZZOR! On TechShop's 65W Epilog Helix, this design took just under an hour to etch and cut into acrylic.


  • Consider turning off the "rasters" layer altogether, and instead printing some very nice color printouts that you then glue onto your laser-cut pieces.

  • Consider cutting the different game pieces out of different colors of acrylic.

  • If you have suggestions for improved etchable artwork for the tiles, please submit them to me and I'll incorporate them into the design!

  • Consider flattring me: http://flattr.com/thing/134363/Lasercut-tiles-for-Settlers-of-Catan (Definitely not required, I'm just curious if this flattr thing will catch on.)

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Has anyone done the expansion pack yet?

If anyone doesn't have access to a laser cutter, or just wants to save themselves the trouble, I'm selling a birchwood set of these tiles based on these at http://www.etsy.com/shop/hackerCrafthttp://www.etsy.com/shop/hacke...

Can you design water pieces maybe some with the ports on them? maybe just a simple symbol and 3:1 or whatever? I like that you dont need the outside to hold them together but dude.. a brotha's gotta play Seafarers and stuff...

Just a thought, prob wouldn't be too hard since you ahve the pieces drawn up.. if you do hit me up


JMNE - I am using Google Chrome and cannot download your catan9.svg file.. I have business grade comcast service but clicking on the link just brings up the bottom picture from the column on the left - no download.. Is your link broken?

hmz sorry about the multiple posts.

For those who fancy a set of this, but don't know how to get hold of a laser cutter, try a fablab :)


Full list of fablab locations wolrdwide: http://fab.cba.mit.edu/about/labs/http://fab.cba.mit.edu/about/l...

Question - The red acrylic set in the photos seems to have different designs for sheep and grain than the black
amp; white screen shot of the cutting file.

Which set of photos goes with the downloadable files?

Thanks for sharing all of this! I'm thrilled to get my own set made.

I would like to see a DXF or DWG version of the files too, but I would also like to get a version of catan8 in svg. I'm going to try to cut using wood, so I like the more detailed versions of the wheat, sheep, etc.

So, when are you going to start selling these?

As soon as he moves to Korea or somewhere that doesn't honor US copyrights.

I have no problem with people selling these at standard printing rates. please don't gouge people.

Is there any way you can save these files for DXF, or DWG perhaps? I'm in contact with a company that does laser cutting and those are the files they need. Thanks for any assistance

I'll make the attempt next time I'm at techshop. However, I think DXF is a vector-only format, meaning that the artwork in the raster etch layer can't be exported this way. I'll find out for certain soon.

That would be super helpful for me too. DXF or DWG.

Sorry, but I'm not selling printed sets. I'm giving a few away to friends, and of course I encourage you to print you own.

If you plan on renting laser time, I should warn you that it takes me about an hour to etch-and-cut a full set of tiles. Good luck!


Very impressive work ! If anyone else contacts you looking for someone to do the laser work, please feel free to pass on my contact info.

I have an epilog 40 watt Mini 12" x 24" machine




how much would something like this cost?

Very Cool, great job and hard work! Might have to make some on my laser. :-) But what are the implications of making these for others? you'd have to charge or trade for the wood or acrylic, which seems to probably be okay as long as it wasn't sold as a "SoC" game per se. Interesting article on that http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/3d-printing-settlers-catan-probably-not-illeghttp://www.publicknowledge.org...

Interlocking pieces would be MUCH better. I like the acrylic look and it would hold up better than the wood.

Would you also consider making water tiles? Would be great for the expansion sets :D

Wow. It took a while, but the SVG seemed to import ok! Thx!

X3 dump isn't loading on X4. :(

It shows as preview, but comes up as "format is not supported". Bizarre. Would you mind uploading an X4 or (different) earlier? I prefer to go native format to be sure I've got it uncorrupted.

That's a shame. I'll export as in v14 format next time I'm in techshop. Give me a day or two.

I get this too with CorelDrawX4 for both the X3 version and the X5 version... weird.

Is anyone else having a problem with the SVG in Inkscape. All of the port tiles text is not aligned properly. Otherwise this is really awesome.

SVG is a poorly specified format, and everyone implements slightly different subsets of the standard. I'm saddened but not surprised to learn that CorelDraw and Inkscape can't interoperate this way.

Usually, PDF works as an exchange format, but I gave up when my Inkscape-
gt;CorelDraw via PDF exchange failed the last time.

Could you do this with aluminum or a different metal?

The lasercutters I have access to can't cut metals.

So... How much could it cost for someone to make these?

at my school i can make these, we have a laser cutter, it costs $1 a minute to use, plus a couple bucks for the materials.

re: Settlers of Catan. How long does it take to cut something like this since you said they charge $1 a minute? If you consider cutting some for others let me know...!!! =-X

re: Settlers of Catan. How long does it take to cut something like this since you said they charge $1 a minute? If you consider cutting some for others let me know...

ima try and make a set on wednesday, il let you know.

Feel like making a couple sets?

If you're making some sets, I'd happily take one off your hands.

Love these! Also very nice that the tiles won't move around now, they are all locked in.

Could you also create files for the expansion packs's? Would be even greater if you could play those as well! :P

Ugh I NEED Someone to make one of these for me!!!!

Any plans to cut a few and sell them?

These are awesome looking!!!

Being an absolute Luddite and lacking any creative ability and not knowing anybody with a laser cutter. Please advise on how I might acquire a set or two of these must have items.

I've just uploaded the 9th version, catan9, to thingiverse. What's new:

  1. duplicated lines are removed, no more overcuts!

  2. problematic images (sheep and wheat) have been replaced with high-contrast line art. This version should be more suitable for etching on acrylic.

I finally fabricated the catan9 design onto black acrylic, and it came out beautiful. The high-contrast images are a win for etching on acrylic.

So what would a price be for a Complete Final Black Acrylic set?


Daniel Holmes of JNC designs does laser cutting jncdesigns@hotmail.com tell him Paul sent you.

This is amazing!The one problem i have with the game is getting those little cardboard pieces to fit right.. Now to find someone with a cutter..

I love this, but were I doing this, I'd change one thing: The tile for the desert should also have a center-cut which would be filled with either a blank number chip or one that matches the rest of the tile. When the tiles you have are shuffled, the fact that the desert tile does not have a hole makes it really easy to tell where the desert will end up being placed, even while it's being shuffled.

Otherwise, some of the concepts you've used are spectacular! I love the interlocking tiles, and the cutaways for the number chips are an excellent addition.

FYI, the acrylic version came out lousy. The images I used simply aren't appropriate (constrast-y enough) for use when etching acrylic.

I'm currently working on a fresh version using high-contrast line art for an acrylic-etched set. If anyone would like to contribute some artwork, I'd happily consider integrating your artwork into the set.

This looks really nice! It would be fun to make one out of acrylic, but use a different color for each type--wood from green, brick from red, grain from yellow etc.

what version of CorelDRAW was this made on? I opened it in X3 and all I see is a "dummy layer".

This was made with CorelDraw X5 -- that's the only version I have access to. Can anyone suggest a way to export a file from CorelDraw that is more universally compatible?

PDF is nice too, it's printable and more or less universal.

Amazingly, PDF failed me this time. It seems CorelDraw sometimes corrupts PDF imports if the PDF image has lots of crazy clipped bitmaps, which this design does.

This is awesome! We were just about to make a jig (Not the dance) to put around the board (Bored?) to keep the thing together. And as far as saving the file out as a more universal file type, if I'm correct, CorelDRAW has the ability to save a file as a .svg file, which is a common file type among Graphic Design software if I'm not mistaken. Though I easily could be, so don't quote me on that.

When you do a "save as", you can export earlier versions of CorelDRAW. The only other option I can think of is AutoCAD, but I don't have much experience with it for going back and forth (I usually only import DXFs into CorelDRAW). Would you mind posting an X3 file for me? :)

dmatsumoto: I've uploaded two more files for you. One of the ".r13" or ".r12" files should work with X3, though sadly the CorelDraw interface wasn't as explicit as I had hoped.

Let me know if the files I just uploaded worked for you!

Is it possible to get a CorelDraw "version 12" save file as well? This is an awesome project thank you for all of the work you have done and shared!

gt; Save As X3

Will do, but please give me a few days to make my way back to TechShop. And poke me if I'm late!

Nice job on the 3D version... very, very nice! Can't wait to see it here.

this... is... too... awesome! I can't wait to go cut a set.

Wow, that's a nice 3D model! Lots of detail, I guess you're planning on fabricating it huge!

I was thinking of having them printed in high res somewhere like shapeways and then casting them like this. http://intrinsicallysublime.blogspot.com/p/3d-settlers.htmlhttp://intrinsicallysublime.bl...

As well as designing some more basic settlements and cities for printing on lower res machines. I did scale the tokens and settlements/cities larger than normal to make printing easier while not making the over all set much larger.

Nice! You might also want to consider vacuum-formed plastic based on your prints!