Catan has been reimagined and remade countless times by the maker community but “Planet Catan” – a spherical playing board complete with magnets and gears – may be the best one yet.

Maker William Lund came up with this idea and wanted to make it work with the existing pieces from the popular magnetic version uploaded in 2016. As you can’t make a sphere from hexagons, Lund had to get creative with modelling the project in Blender.

“I spent the better part of a week designing it. This actually takes some geometry skills I was rusty on. Also, the pieces have to be perfectly irregular in order to accommodate perfect hexagons. So, I’m embarrassed by how long it took me to figure it out. Honestly though, I spent more time designing the base to house the piece holders and the holders themselves,” Lund tells us.

Aside from those nice holders which sit at the base of the globe, that’s also where this print’s second party piece can be seen. Inside the base there’s a mechanism which allows the globe to rotate by turning a knob.

You can see this in action, together with the magnetic pieces, in this short video:

Printing of the 30 centimetre globe took around 187 hours to complete. That doesn’t include the time needed for tests, printing of the game pieces, assembly or finishing. With all of that in mind this turned into a monster project.

Some sanding was required on the moving parts to make the mechanism as smooth as possible, and a few of the harbour tiles needed it to properly fit. Aside from that the globe didn’t need any painting due to some clever choices of filament colour, though the game pieces did need some acrylics.

Once assembled onto the base the structure stands 55 centimetres tall meaning that it needs some extra room on the boardgame shelf. Thankfully it doesn’t have a large footprint so some space can be saved there.

To print your own Planet Catan grab the files for free from Thingiverse.

Even with all the design work done this is still a big undertaking, so set aside a lot of time if you’re getting into it.

“If I’d known what I was getting into when I started, I probably would have stopped myself. But, I’m happy with the result,” Lund says.

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