Spiral Chess Set

by BigBadBison, published

Spiral Chess Set by BigBadBison Sep 20, 2014

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72165Views 28859Downloads Found in Chess
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A spiral themed chess set that can be printed without supports. I modeled this myself and I am currently in the process of printing a set. Any criticism is welcome and appreciated.

This has been a project I have been working on since I first got my printer. I wanted to develop something that could not be manufactured by any other process other than 3D Printing. I was stuck for a while on how to make the Knight, but I am finally happy enough with all of the models to publish it to the public.

Since this set has now been successfully printed, I am no longer marking is as a work-in-progress. If I make significant changes in the future, I will likely upload it as a new file.


Printed on a Makerfarm 8" i3v in PLA at 0.20mm layer height. Each print took some time (about 2hr) as they are pretty large pieces, so be prepared for a bit of a long print time. You could scale them down to 75% or so if you are looking for a smaller set.

No supports required!

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Love this chess set. I've printed it out a few times, but have yet to print out the full set (both white/black). I finally got around to it yesterday when reviewing the Taz 6. Came out great! Here's a time-lapse view of the white set:


Apr 10, 2016 - Modified Apr 16, 2016

Very nice, I especially like the knight. Printed with PETG on a delta Kossel at 240 C, no heated bed, the pieces came out with no problems and look great. I made up some tiles, 45mm sq, 4mm deep, using the Octagram spiral for a fill pattern that look nice with it.

Thank you for the design.

Mar 26, 2016 - Modified Mar 26, 2016

Well designed and print beautifully in ABS. Well done. ran into some issues with the queen, but tried again with Slic3r, no issues. print time improved by scaling @ 80%.

these look so cool! I love the spiral design

I printed all these pieces at 8-8 mm by 12.5-20 mm tall to go with my mini board and the pieces came out a little low quality but still awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have tried printing the Queen at various infill rates and w/ each increase the spires were taller but eventually the extruder head would hit one of the spires and break it off from the base. After reading the comments I may try scaling the piece. I am a novice and I am using an Afinibot A5 printer which may not have the capability to print w/ this much overhang. I really like the design and would appreciate any help on how to improve my print. I am also interested on suggestions on a good design software.

I made one but resized it to .8 cm- .8cm- 2-1.25 cm

I've only looked at the Queen so far but it seems that just under the head (in the center) there's an area that prints unsupported. When I printed it, I got a little bit of a stringy mess there. Not too bad but not quite what I expected either. Otherwise, beautiful pieces! Looking forward to printing more!

Great set! ive completed a full set, prints very well without any supports, (Though Ive had two printing fails, on a queen and a pain, right were the print transitions from the spirals to the base)

excellent design.

Congratulations! Your model has been selected as one of the Top 3D Printed Christmas / Holiday Models this year. Search "Top Free 3D Printed Christmas Gift 2015 Printing Ninja" to see. (sorry thingiverse bans url addresses)

Very nice build, I've already printed a few sets! However, when printing I highly recommend that you mirror half the pawns, rooks, knights, and bishops. Also mirror one of the queens and the king of the other color. This will make it so that the spirals will be symmetrical whenever put on the board, instead of all of them facing one way

Cool idea, I never thought of that. That does require some more effort in setting up to make everything look nice though!

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Remarkably beautiful set and design, I did however remake it in a biblical hebraic theme and would like to see if someone is interested in coming up with other re-imaginations. I will post my models and files if someone else will post theirs. I would like to have a set that is truly co designed. With my re-imaginationed pieces at one side and someone elses at the other, I do not want to design either Roman, Muslim, Crusader, etctera pieces as I have no way to identify with the cultures and do not want to post anything potentially controvercial, but this is a terrific base to start with and I would love to see other makers reiImaginings and collect/print them for my own use and enjoyment. Just an FYI... My set has caged spheres in the back pieces, The Knight has become a Camel and the Rook has a rendition of Parapets from Jerusalem, the bishop has obviously become a rabbi and both the king and queen pieces have been given a cultural and period treatment.

Cool! I'd love to see your set.

I sliced the pieces with Simplify 3D, and began printing a set of 8, the king, the queen, 2 bishops, 2 knights and 2 towers. It took about 9 hours, and the result is impressive. However, using 0.20mm layers, with no supports, at the spirals I get some quite bad printing. It looks like some ooze is troubling the surfaces. Anyone has an idea how to get better spiral surfaces? Many thanks for any suggestion.

The knight solution is clever. I can definitely see how that would be the hardest one to design.

Awesome set love the look. Definitly recommend scaling down these are rather large for pieces but I plan on making a board with storage for them and set it out as a conversation piece/ game night.

Awesome models! I've printed a couple of sets. My make pix were just uploaded.

Thanks for creating these.

I am having problems with the spirals looking very jagged because of overhang. Do you have any recommendations? I have tried with both PLA and ABS. The ABS seems to come out cleaner. I would really appreciate if someone who did get a clean print could share what feedrate/infill/layer height/travel feedrate/print temperature/and buildplate temperature. I absolutely love the design and the pieces I have made still look great, I was just hoping to find a way to get them to come out a little cleaner. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!

I am having the same problem. Please read my comment above.

I am finding that the problem is that on my PrintrBot, the fan doesnt cool a specific support with the fan. Then the plastic pools, and curls up. When the printer head comes back around, the curled up piece has cooled, and blocks theprinter head. This keeps happening, so the head keeps knocking each spiral, leading it to break at the base.

I am going to try two strategies: 1) decrease the layer height (so that less plastic is available to curl 2) slow down the printer head, so that maybe the fan will cool it while printing, keeping the plastic from curling up.

I am also going to try increasing the infill percentage - so that the spirals are stronger (this will also keep the head and cooler in the same spot for longer).

Dec 12, 2015 - Modified Dec 12, 2015
drxenocide - in reply to drxenocide

Experiment #1: I changed the infill from 20% to 30%, still 90mm/sec, still 150um layer height, and the part didn't break. I still heard some clicking - which happens when the hot end is sliding against the a spiral that is over hanging (the overhanging part cools faster, and curls up). 30% infil was way too much. Going to try 100um layer height, and 22% infill next.

Wow, these don't even need support.

That's correct!

Good thing too, because otherwise getting those supports out would be hell if you're doing it at .75 scale (which I am, simply to save time)

Cool video, how fast was it sped-up? Thanks for printing.

Thanks, the print took about 4.7 hours and I had scaled the parts by 0.6. Time lapse was one photo every 5 seconds.

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Hey BigBadBison,is this copyrighted? I would like to use and distribute it.

"Spiral Chess Set by BigBadBison is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license."

Therefore, no.

Congrats! I thought you model was one of the best choices for a 3D Printed Christmas gift! I made a link from here: http://3dprintingninja.blogspot.com/2014/12/top-20-free-3d-printed-christmas-gifts.html

Printed very well without support and almost no strings or artefacts, found that printing as many as possible at once helped with speed. If just printing a single one my software slowed the layer speed right down so it all cooled down.
Ended up printing 8 pieces at a time and scaled the model down to 50% size and still printed without any issues taking just over an hour.
This is a very cool idea and model that really show off the ability of a 3d printer!

This chess set looks super cool! I'm going to make this my first print project once i get a replicator mini in the near future.

Sep 23, 2014 - Modified Sep 25, 2014
BigBadBison - in reply to JFurm

Thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing how others turn out, make sure you post it!