Introduction: Travel Chess Set

I wanted to make a portable chess set that is small enough to fit in a backpack but also large enough to play on. I also wanted to make it so that it looked intentionally designed both opened and closed. Through a few different variations, I found that this final design was most well suited for what I was aiming to achieve.


  • 3d Printer (Ender 3)
  • 3d Modeling Software (Fusion 360)
  • PLA Filament (Mika3D 1.75mm Silk PLA Filament)
  • 4x Magnets
  • Epoxy (Gorilla)

Step 1: Creating the Model

To start off with the portable design, we need to figure out the dimensions to make the board portable without compromising the space of the playing surface. We start out with an 8 inch by 8 inch square and extruded it 1 inch.

Step 2: Cutting the Board

To start making the hinge system for the board we cut the square in half and added a 2 inch by 4 inch rectangle in the center.

Step 3: Making Holes

Next we cut two holes that go all the way through both sides of the board.

Step 4: Rounding the Inside Hinge

To give the hinge system a consistent square look, we need to "hide" how the center rectangle rotates. From the center point of the hole, we create a 1.141 inch circle. We extrude it along the inside 4 inches, and cut the space it covers.

Step 5: Fillet the Corner

We need to add a .5 inch fillet to one side of the inside corners. This serves the purpose of allowing the board to rotate within itself exactly as much as we need it to.

Step 6: Adding the Rod

Add 4 rods on all holes that hold all the pieces together.

Step 7: Creating the Storage

For creating the storage to hold the pieces we create a 7.8 inch by 2.5 inch shell on the side that has the fillet.

Step 8: Magnet Slots

In opposite corners of the shell we now add slots to hold the magnets in place. Then instead of copying the same piece over, we need to mirror it in order to have the magnetic slots facing each other when the board is closed the magnets will keep it secure.

Step 9: Finished Base Model

Now that we have he essential part of the design complete it is your chance to make it your own. You can create your own pieces in any way you would like, and you can display the checkered pattern in your own unique way.

Step 10: Example Board

For my creation, I extruded a checkered pattern outline only about .02 inches high to make a guide for the squares. I also designed an end cap for the rods to complement the design language of the piece. Using two different colored filaments, I printed the squares and adhered them to the board using epoxy. To hold the pieces in place, I devised a simple rack system that slides into the shell.

Step 11: Example Pieces

The design I wanted to go with for the pieces was a modern brutalist style. I achieve that with a coherent angle and broad accents. Considering the size of the squares on the board, the pieces have a base 3/4 the size of the square to give them space.

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