Chess Set I

by cbiffle, published

Chess Set I by cbiffle Jun 12, 2009

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Traditional (Staunton-style) chess set. The knight is a draft piece that I hope to revisit -- getting a recognizable horse-bust without exceeding the maximum overhang angles is hard.

Please note: my printer isn\'t here yet, so while I have sliced these models and inspected the tool paths that result, I haven\'t verified that they print properly on actual hardware. I would love feedback from any chess fans with printers! :-)


All pieces so far print ready-to-use except the King, who traditionally has a cross on his crown. The cross prints beside him, and should be glued in place (divot provided).

Note that the pieces are mathematically lathed, and the perimeter loops have a large number of vertices. This is a recipe for trouble if your printer slows down on high-detail areas. For a MakerBot, I've had good results by printing from SD card, and very bad results over serial.

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Amazing! Certainly a classic. :-D Hope you don't mind but have featured it on a blog.


When printing the set, of which I am greatly indebted to you, I came across an interesting problem. It would seem as though your rook and queen have gaping holes in the sides, allowing for the most graphicly violent games of chess, but is a poor contributer to stability! This may be a problem with my program, Catalyst EX, opening the stl files, but I was wondering if there was a certain method for keeping them together. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

This is great. I really like the Bauhaus set too. I might try to model it up and save $300: http://www.chess-shop.com/detail.aspx?ID=65http://www.chess-shop.com/deta.... Will post it if I do.

Be careful not to stomp on any IP, the last thing we need is a reputation as cheap cloners. Designing your own set is much more fun.

Instead of printing the knight standing up, try taking the standard 3D model, cut it in half, and print each side from the flat middle. This should avoid the overhang problem, and upon gluing the pieces together, it should look pretty good.

Not a bad idea -- I'd much prefer to make it one-piece printable if possible. I suspect I can do something clever. What it really comes down to is that I'm not a great sculptor for organic forms like horse heads. I'm an engineer. :-)

I solve practical problems...TF2 FTW!

Maybe print it upside down with a snap off support raft

Funny, that's the same thing god said when he made the horse!

I started working on the pawns, they look very good in ABS (except for the bottom, but its just my fault). I will upload pictures when I finished it all.

Way cool, looking forward to seeing your results!

I have a really long build queue at the moment, but I'll put this on it. Boy, those black ABS coils from MakerBot Industries are starting to look tempting...

Alternatively, pick up some black vinyl dye. It's worked great on ABS for me in the past.

Thanks for the tip! I've been pondering the problem of painting/dying the MakerBot output; both for getting different colors and for, say, painting numbers on dice.

With vinyl dye it's easiest to dye an entire piece, so e.g. dice would be difficult -- for best results, you immerse the piece in the dye.

For fine detail, consider the enamel paints used for model aircraft or cars. With a topcoat you can get good results.