Cornhole set

Try This: Build and Personalize a Cornhole Set Using a Laser

Josh Stephens is the owner of Lasers Plus. Formerly, he was the lead applications expert for Trotec Laser. He has been in the industry for over seven years.

Cornhole, also referred to as Bean Bag Toss, is a game that originated in the Midwest and has increased in popularity across the US in bars, college campuses and homes. It goes well with tailgating, beer, BBQs and backyards.

Required material:

2 – 61 X 122 cm sections of 1.3 cm plywood

4 – 5 X 10 X 122 cm sections for the frame

4 – 5 X 10 X 61 cm sections for the frame

4 – 5 X 10 X 29 cm sections for the legs

4 – Carriage bolts

4 – washers

4 – wing nuts

Paint

High gloss varnish, both spray and brush on

Step 1: Laser Engraving and Cutting the Boards

The American Cornhole Association requires platforms be a 61 X 122 cm rectangle made from 1.5 cm plywood. The front of the platform stands 6.5 to 10 cm tall and the back of the platform sits 30 cm off the ground.

Using a large-format laser cutter, set one of the pieces of plywood in the laser. We had to place ours sideways since we wanted to both cut and engrave at the same time. You can also use a smaller laser with a pass through and cut the plywood down to size with a saw. Most home improvement stores will do this for a small fee.

Laser settings

*Note: We used a Speedy 500, 200 watts, 2.0 inch lens

Engraving: Power: 70%; speed: 100%; frequency: 500ppi; Z offset: 0.5cm (for a nice dark engraving mark); air assist: ON

Cutting: Power: 100%; speed: 0.50%; frequency: 1000Hz; air assist: ON

Step 2: Building the Box

Use the 5 X 10 cm pieces to build two 61 cm X 122 cm rectangles using two screws on each corner. Attach one sheet of plywood to each 5 X 10 cm frame, using drywall screws. We used four across the top and four across the bottom evenly spaced. We put a screw about every 30 cm down each side. Counter-sink the screws slightly so that the bags won’t snag.

Step 3: Leg Assembly

Now it’s time for the legs. Get the 5 X 10 X 29 cm sections for the four legs. Make a full 9 cm radius cut on one end of each leg. To make the cut, measure 4.5 cm down the length of the 5 X 10 and draw a line across it. Place a compass point centered on that line then draw the arc. Use a jigsaw to make the cut.

Turn the box upside down; lay a leg parallel, flush up against one of the top corners with the radius side in the corner. Clamp into place. From the inside of the box, make a mark in the center of the 5 X 10 vertically inside the radius. Drill a 1.3 cm hole through the side of the box and through the support leg.

Fasten the legs to the platform using pairs of carriage bolts + washers + wing nuts. The legs will rotate for nicer storage.

Step 4: Paint and Varnish

Now we want to paint the sides of the box and a little into the top of the board. Fill any holes or cracks with wood filler and let dry. Mask off a 2.5 cm area around the outside of the top of the box and using high gloss paint, paint the sides of the box and the 2.5 cm strip around the top of the box with at least two coats of paint.

Once dry, coat the entire top and sides of the box with a high gloss varnish to protect the engraved area and make the bags slide but not too slippery. Since the dark laser mark made while engraving is prone to smearing, we first coated it with a few layers of spray polyacrylic before using the heavier, brush on version. Five to 10 coats total should be enough. You want the grooves made by the engraving to feel smooth and not interrupt the sliding of the bags.

Step 5: Bags

Cornhole bags are canvas bags measuring 15 cm X 15 cm and filled with one pound of feed corn. You can also fill them with plastic pellets to make them weather proof, but the corn lets off a small amount of dust when hitting the boards, which helps with getting the perfect slide when playing. We ordered our bags from Victory Tailgate but wanted to personalize them for the recipient. We used a Speedy 300 120 watt laser to engrave the logo on one side of each bag. The trick is to lightly hit the cloth with the laser, bleaching out the fabric, but not compromising the integrity of it.

Laser Settings:

Engraving: power: 30%; speed: 100%; frequency: 500ppi

Step 6: Game on!

Now that you have all the parts of the set, it’s time to set it up and start playing. You can find the official rules to the game at the American Cornhole Association’s website - http://americancornhole.com/rules-resources/aco-official-cornhole-rules/.