Skip to main content

Four-in-a-row is one of those games that you play with just about any age child, and they can play competitively. My kids really enjoy it, and since we play it on occasion, I got to thinking about what it would take to make the game myself. I didn’t want to have to deal with the normal moving slide on the bottom, or have a bunch of extra pieces to keep up with, so I came up with a way to use a case as part of the game itself.

It’s a pretty easy project, and while I did lots of it on my CNC machine, you could definitely do all of it using other tools. If you didn’t want to use a CNC, you could get a 1″ dowel, and cut off 1/4″ slices for the pieces.

There are lots of variations of this project, and I hope that I get to make another to try some different things out. Check it out, and let me know in the comments if you think of cool alternate versions to make!

Here’s what you’ll need:

(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)

Downloadable template:

Four-In-A-Row Template (PDF)

Cut out 21 circles, 1″ in diameter, of each color.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.50.59-PM

Cut two pieces of material to match the template. Attach both pieces, and the template with spray adhesive.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.51.38-PM

Drill out the holes with a 3/4″ bit or use a CNC if you have access to one.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.51.56-PM

Use a 3/4″ sleeve for a spindle sander to sand the inside of the circles.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.52.26-PM

Using 1/4″ material, cut a few strips, 1/8″ wide.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.53.18-PM

Trim down nine pieces.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.53.44-PM

Starting with the bottom, attach the pieces with wood glue, using the game pieces as spacers.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.54.30-PM

Spray the inside faces white.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.54.38-PM

Lightly sand the dividers so the glue will adhere to them.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.55.12-PM

Use CA glue to attach the dividers to the other face plate.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.55.32-PM

Apply light pressure for a few seconds to attach them.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.56.00-PM

Sand down all sides of the game board.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.56.24-PM

Rip the 1/4″ material to the desired width of your box.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.56.44-PM

Chop down four pieces to the desired height.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.57.04-PM

Set the blade height of the table saw to the exact thickness of the material (1/4″).

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.57.26-PM

Line up all four pieces and clamp them together.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.57.34-PM

Set a stop block to half of the piece height, measuring from the far side of the blade. Push the pieces through and nibble away all of the wood up to the stop block.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.57.54-PM

Keep the pieces lined up, and move the clamps to the opposite side.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.58.32-PM

Nibble away the wood in the same manner as before on the opposite corner.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.58.43-PM

Sand all of the cut surfaces smooth.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.58.59-PM

Your pieces should all look like this.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-3.59.43-PM

Add glue and clamp pieces into a box.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.00.08-PM

Cut two squares to fit into the ends of the box.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.00.52-PM

Loosen the clamps, add glue, and insert end pieces.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.01.16-PM

After the glue dries, sand all surfaces smooth.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.01.44-PM

Work up the grits and get your box nice and smooth.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.02.00-PM

Run the box through the saw, cutting off one side 1″ thick.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.02.11-PM

Cut off the opposite side the same way. The center section is unused.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.02.23-PM

Mark the center point on each outer side.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.02.40-PM

Punch the holes on the line, but slightly towards the inside of the box.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.02.51-PM

Drill pilot holes in each mark to stop the larger bit from wandering.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.03.05-PM

Drill out the full size hole, to the depth of your magnets. Be sure the drill bit doesn’t exit the outside of the box.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.03.15-PM

Make matching marks on the sides of the game board.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.03.47-PM

Drill holes in the game board to the depth of the magnets.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.04.02-PM

Mix a small amount of two part epoxy.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.04.21-PM

Fill the holes with epoxy.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.04.41-PM

Use small rare earth magnets.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.04.48-PM

Insert the magnets into the holes, being sure to keep the polarity correct so that they are attracting correctly.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.05.06-PM

Add epoxy and magnets to the game board as well.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.05.29-PM

Finish your box with your finish of choice. I used a beeswax & linseed oil mixture from Darbin Orvar.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.05.47-PM

Now try out your game!

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.06.03-PM

When you’re done, you can store the pieces.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.06.39-PM