Introduction: Spoken Word Chess Pieces

I made some very personal chess pieces using my voice. Each piece is based on the shape of the sound I made while saying its name. It’s not a complete set, since the other side should be done the same way, but with the voice of my opponent.

This is just a simple project to show how to import SVG files into Fusion 360, and use them to create solid bodies.

It's not the easiest workflow, but it should be easy to replicate.

The software I used:

This project was inspired by: Guto Requena's Era Uma Vez vases, and Matthew Epler's Grand Old Party plugs.

Step 1: Audio Recording

I started by recording myself saying the name of the pieces using Audacity, and saving each section of the sound as a separate file using the File -> Export Selection command.

Step 2: Processing

Then, I use a simple Processing script to generate images from the sound waves. The code is on github.

It will read any mp3 file in its data/ directory and turn it into a png.

Step 3: Making SVGs With GIMP

To generate the SVGs, I open each image file in GIMP, and use the Fuzzy Select Tool (with a high threshold value) to select the white area of my image. Then, I make a path using the Select -> To Path menu option, and export the path by right-clicking on the path under the Paths sidebar.

Step 4: Fusion (import SVG)

A weird thing in Fusion 360 right now is that some commands are only available if you turn off the History Timeline feature. I find the Timeline useful, and like to keep it around, but it’s a bummer when you need to do certain things, like, scale a sketch.

Here’s how to get around that.

Before creating a sketch, start a Base Feature, with the Create Base Feature option, under the Create menu. Notice that a ‘Finish Base Feature’ button shows up at the top menu.

Now, start a sketch, pick a plane, and select the Import SVG option under the Sketch menu. Pick a file, and specify the start position of the SVG path.

Step 5: Fusion (Measure, Scale, Scale)

Once the SVG has loaded and the sketch is finalized, I measured one of the sides of the sketch to see how big it came in (I think Fusion imports SVGs at 1mm per pixel).

Then, I chose Scale, under the Modify menu, select the sketch, and enter a Scale Factor to make the 1024mm sketch about 40mm long (so a factor of 0.04). Once I’ve checked that it’s about the size that I want, I can click on Finish Base Feature.

Step 6: Fusion (Revolve)

Now I can use the Revolve command under the Create menu to make a solid body from this sketch. Boom!

I made a short video that shows all of these steps.

Step 7: Clean Up and Print

Once I have a solid body, it's easy to rotate it up, and crop it a little bit, to make sure I have a flat base for the piece.

Rinse, and repeat.

Export the STL and Print.

My own personal set of custom chess pieces.