Spiral Chess Set

by BigBadBison Sep 20, 2014
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My grandfather recently passed and he loved chess so I'm printing this in his memory. Thank you so much for designing this.

Anyone else have issues with the print nozzle running into the print when the spirals get about 50% height?

I have tried printing on my Raise3D N2 printer 15+ times, same thing every time.

I may have had this issue one or two times while printing the set. I think it was because I was slightly overextruding. Since the spirals are solid, depending on your settings, the smallest overextrusion can lead to a buildup that will eventually cause the print to fail.

If it's not that, then it's cooling. You can experiment with lowering printing speeds during the spirals, or increasing fan PWM.

Hope this helps!


Great chess set, thanks. FYI On my Prusa Mk3, printing in PLA, the whole set will take 85 hours to print

Personally, I'm a little troubled and could probably use some ;) These bad boys don't need any support though!

Have you seen the problem printing with ABS where the spirals end up being broken once the uprights get 50% + high? I thought it may be warpage, but I have used hairspray and the base seems to be still flat. I have heat bed turned up the highest it will go (110C) and printing at 240C. Any ideas?

It sounds like your over extrudering your ABS . Goto to your motion,steps,E/mm set at 100 try that. I run my ABS at 245C and 80c on the bed. Or you need to make some test pieces to set your extruder flow corectly.
I use blue 3m tape with a high hold hair spray.
I hope it helps

Has anyone found a way to fit these all on the same print file so it prints in one go? If so what program did you use?

I was the 7000th collector. This set is amazing.

Hey, you chess pieces are being sold on eBay :).Hope you are getting royalties.

I tried opening the file but it wouldn't let me and said because of "certificate trust list"

please note I just saw this being sold on this link if you did not give permission please take action if you wish.


Once I download the files, how do I open or get them to my printer?

you can unzip the folder or download each one separately

I love this set. I had problem to print the king at first. The top messed up. But it went fine after I duplicate the king so that each layers at the top can cool down. Cura only allows max 10 seconds layer time which is not enough.

Great set, printing at full size. My only wish would be that all of the pieces were scaled such that the bases would all be the same size.

Got a nice clean set of pawns, but the bases of the tops of my rooks came out kind of stringy because of the odd shape for bridging (not sure slic3r even recognized it as such). Possibly the tops of the spirals could be modeled thicker towards the center to support it.

Thanks for the input! As I understand, the bases are not supposed to be the same size for a standard chess set, and I attempted to model them to this standard. You could always use a CAD program to manually scale the models on different axes, post a remix if you do!

As for the rooks, I noticed that on my set as well, but I've been too lazy to modify them :P

Best of luck!

Thanks for the reply! I was not aware about the base sizing, good on you for following the standard. I was mostly surprised at how much bigger the rest of the pieces were coming out after judging the size on the first pawn i printed, and that's on me. I wanted to kill this roll of old filament anyway ;p. The sets do look great all together. As far as the bridges stringing between the tops of the spirals, i got a little on the bishops and some on the queen as well, but all cleaned up ok with an xacto knife and you can't really see under there anyway. I am printing in PETG so that may also have something to do with it.

This is a great chess set. I have a 3d printer (what a surprise!!!) and It took me about 4 hours to print the entire thing at once, though it was at 60% of the original size. Great job!

I can't believe how great these come out when you print them. The bases feel amazing in your hand and the spirals look awesome. I took some of them to work and people were blown away.

This is my pet project I've been printing every night. I can't wait to have the whole set.

P.s I found that 360 degree cooling really helps to get an even finish on the spirals.

It seems like it would take awhile to print

nice design! I will download it

nice design! I will download it

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Hey! I love the set! I was wondering though - what is the minimal height you can print this one in?

What kind of infill do you all use? I've got mine at 10% and the King seems pretty stable to me. Do you go lower? Trying to improve print time as well.

I used 20% for mine, I wanted to give them a good weight.

This is amazing! There is only one other chess set that I have ever seen that is more beautiful... and that one REQUIRES either an SLA printer or support. Yours requires neither. The only piece of constructive criticism i have is this: While the bishop is well designed, it seems a bit disproportional when it comes to the head. If you enlarged the head it would look tons better. I did a bit of editing and created one to fit my preferences, but thought you might want some feedback. Aside from that, I LOVE the chess set and have already printed two white rooks (a King in in process).

I'll post pictures when i'm done.

The design is fantastic! I printed out the rook to test the spire quality, and - like others - the printer settings definitely need to be tweaked. I started off with PLA, but I'm thinking ABS with a post-process acetone vapor treatment would make these babies look amazing.

The "mirroring" comment from a user down in the thread would also look very nice.

They are quite a magnificent design!

I made now 2 different sets and I have one displayed in my office and almost everyone comments on how much they love the design and where can they get one.i give them a card with the tag info attached to it so they can come here and check it out for themselves. If nothing else maybe we can get more people involved with 3D printing. :) Thanks again for a really spectacular design.

The design of this chess set is, to me, a stroke of genius. Aside from the knight, the pieces have a traditional Staunton chess set appearance on the top yet are unique and original with the spiral design. This means chess players who are accustomed to the classic design can recognize the pieces and their function easily yet also enjoy the 3D printing uniqueness of the spirals. Well done!

I plan to modify this set in such a way as to put a hidden magnet inside the base. The board will have 64 magnets, one per square hidden underneath as well, all set up such that the pieces will snap to the center of each square even if gently "tossed" into place as chess players are known to do. I did this exact magnet trick on a set long ago and it was mega-kewl! That's the plan anyway, I'll post design files if I do get around to doing the whole thing.


amazing idea, keep us posted on the modified set /w magnet recesses!

That's an AWESOME idea...

I'm about half-way through printing the set (including a board) - I may back up and do again with the cool magnet idea.

I found these:


20mm diameter and 3mm height - looks about the right size.

Here's my first go at modifying the pawn - hope it helps.


WIP - Magnetic Chess Set
by myersrj

Is it possible for you to share source files?
I want to modify their base.
I'm working in Inventor.
It should be compatible with Solidworks...
Tried to convert stl to solid with mesh enabler, but failed to stitch them.

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:


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.

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.

I had no luck with Repetier when printing these objects. Like you and others, it looked oozey, especially the bishop.
I switched over to Mattercontrol and it came out beautiful. I keep forgetting that if I want a great print to use mattercontrol. The down side was that mattercontrol took 3 hours to create the 1 object.

I am using Simplify3D, but I did not try to print the chess set with that software. Some day, who knows, I shall try it.

The trick is you need to print more than one piece at a time to prevent the ooze. I attempted only printing the bishop, but as it got close to the middle of the print I started seeing the ooze. So I lowered my temp and then the part became brittle (improper adhesion). I then raised the temp to normal for my PLA and added another part. still saw some ooze but it was better. So I then lowered my run speed to 70%. At this point, I switched to my mattercontrol app and it printed out perfect,. No strings, ooze, clean sharp edges on the spirals. then I added the rest of the pieces that I have not printed, moved to normal speed (100%) and everything is perfect.

PS I scaled down the pieces to 75%.

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).

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.

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.

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