Instructables

Micro 3D Printing: Make A Micro Chess Set

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Picture of Micro 3D Printing: Make A Micro Chess Set
Very small objects can be created with even an inexpensive extruded filament 3D printer. The Intro Pic shows a chess set next to a quarter that was printed in PLA.

I have provided .stl files if you want to print your own micro chess set. The files can easily be scaled up to larger sizes to create an easier to use chess set. With a little more hand work, they can even be scaled down.
 
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Step 1: How It Works

Picture of How It Works
The resolution of extruded filament 3D printers is really quite high. I used a Makerbot Replicator 2 to make this chessboard, but it should  be possible with most low end 3D printers.

I am mainly interested in using this process to make very small robots, so I thought making a small chessboard would be a good way to find out the lower size limits of extruder 3D printing.

You cannot simply print out a small object and get consistently good results. It requires modifications in the spacing, number of objects, and printer settings to get crisp 3d prints.

Step1 pic shows the largest chess piece, a king which is .43" high by .1" in diameter. The base and head of the piece is actually hollow.

Step 2: Materials

Picture of Materials
The main thing you will need is access to a 3D Printer. I used a Makerbot Replicator 2, but other printers that extrude PLA should work.

PLA in one or two colors. I used blue and natural. The natural has the advantage that it is translucent and glows nicely when lit with LEDs.
delokaver1 year ago
is this chess is playable ? concerning on how small it is ? just a joke :)

NICE JOB MAN ...
Nicapizza1 year ago
I really really hope "low end" does not mean Reprap!
mikey77 (author)  Nicapizza1 year ago
To me, low end means filament printers like the replicator 2 or less. These are 3D printers that cost $3000 or less. These are printers that at this time, are barely affordable by normal builders and experimenters.

High end would be the commercial printers like Objet that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

This is all temporary. Being able to print brackets, robots, cases, hinges, valves, business cards, toys, molds, containers, and things we have not even thought of--well, it is mind boggling. All of this is possible with "low end printers".

I think that 3D printers will evolve the way that 2D printers evolved, but at a slower pace. The price will slowly go down as the resolution and speed goes up. Multiple extruders or lasers or something else will make it faster and more precise.

I see what you mean, and I guess that was a joke to myself (if that makes sense at all)
I've spent the past year building a Reprap Prusa, and being 14, I've run into a lot of problems, including the resolution, dripping molten ABS everywhere, screeching motors and the like. I agree that everything is improving, and I have seen many improvements over the year that I have built mine.

I agree that RepRap is nowhere near the quality of an Object or a Stratasys, but as a 14 year old kid, this thing seems crazily high-end, as I've never been able to make things this quickly or with this much precision.

By the way, your Instructables is amazing, and I can really appreciate the amount of work and troubleshooting that went into this.


Its nice to know im not the only 14 year old that's into making. How much have you spent of your rep rap by the way
I've spent about $600-$650 on it so far. I used the cheapest stuff you can find, but did get a couple extra things, Heated print bed for example. I have an Instructable with some pics of it. You could probably make one for $500

If you are interested in making one, I could help you out.I am also working on a new design with a large print area that can be made with things from home depot.
Interdasting. Around £400 that s not bad at all. I've been thinking of building a CNC platform with changeable heads such as a router, 3D print extruder, CO2 laser, ECT. I know sloppiness is a major problem with homemade CNC machines and even 3D printers. After doing some research I discovered the Stuart platform which is renowned for having no play. I think this would be a first for 3D printing and would be a great winter project this year, I'll let you know.
Sloppiness in what sense? My printer has wires all over it, in crazy positions, and the molten plastic can be a bit of a mess, but other than that they are relatively clean. If you mean flimsiness or how much it can wobble, the Prusa Mendel design is very sturdy and secure, and i can apply quite a bit of pressure to it.

I'll look into the Stuart platform, it sounds interesting.
Yeah I was talking about wobble and flex in the guide bars and play in the leadscrew.
Hopefully prices will continue to be driven down with innovation and competition. Here's a kickstarter that offers some hope in this area if you haven't seen it already:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1650950769/rigidbot-3d-printer
Eddy Dean1 year ago
just a little hint, the queen goes on her own colour. this puts her opposite the opponents queen
J-Five1 year ago
COOL!!!!

Now, all you need now is to make tiny chess players.
oldmicah1 year ago
Nice work, and thanks for running the numbers! I've been trying to print some very fine detail objects and am going to try you print multiple objects trick to give the layers more time to cool..

If you ever revisit this I'd like to request slightly deeper holes and a slot in the bottom for a Swiss army style set of tweezers... Ultimate travel chess set!
mikey77 (author)  oldmicah1 year ago
Good idea.

Perhaps a lidded box that holds the board and keeps the pieces in place during transport would work.

The lid could contain built in 3d printed tweezers.
Sweet! It is amazing the quality you can get, I've gotten clean 0.004 inch layers before, but only in the z directions.
That is so cool, I love micro things! I love that multi-colored board too!
Kiteman1 year ago
Wow. Imagine what you could do with an Objet!
HollyMann1 year ago
wow thats so tiny - looks awesome though!