Introduction: 3D Printed Science Chessboard
When we were instructed to create a unique and original project for our STEM in society engineering class for the Governor's School for Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, my friends and I decided to create a chessboard made with 3D printed pieces and and a board cut and built out of wood. We eventually came to the conclusion that since we were at a Governor's School for science, we should make the chess pieces based off of lab and science equipment. We also decided to make a compartment in the board to hold our pieces. Feel free to copy and edit on our designs.
Step 1: Plan Out Your Pieces and Board.
Planning is an important part of any project, and our chessboard was no different. We took two whole class periods on planning our concepts, designs, and dimensions. It took a while and some deliberation to completely come to the pieces we have currently including heights and base widths. We also put our board dimensions into the plan with a border, square sizes, and the height of the supporting sides of our storage area.
Step 2: Design the Pieces.
We then began work on the actual 3D designs on Onshape for our chess pieces. We used the following lab equipment for our pieces:
King (Erlenmeyer flask): Making the king piece was simply making the shape of half of the side view of the bottle, then revolving around the axis to create the whole flask. Then make a shell to make the flask look hollow. The king's height was 2.5 inches, and his base was 3 cm in diameter.
Queen (Florence flask): The queen was a little more complicated. Her design took a few wrong turns before ending up where she is now. The main problem with her was making the sphere on her base stay without breaking off during printing. We found a few ways to accomplish this: 1. Bring supports up from the base to connect to her sphere. or 2. Make the sphere overlap into the base to make an incomplete sphere. We went with the second method. After making the sphere stay on the base, you will need to have a cylinder rise from the sphere's top. The queen's dimensions are 2.5 inches tall and 3 cm wide base.
Rook(Beaker): The rook is the simplest piece to make. It will simply need a hollow cylinder with a triangle sprouting off the rim. The rook's dimensions are 1.5 inches tall, and a 2.5 centimeters wide base.
Bishop(Bunsen burner): The bishop's design is essentially a stack of different sized cylinders. He primarily can be created either by blocking out half of the profile then revolving around the axis, or building off of existing cylinders to create new circles, the extrude the circle to the desired height. Then you will have to create a cylinder coming off of the side to create an air intake. The flame is created by revolving a half flame shape. The dimensions for the bishop are 2 in tall and 2.5 cm for the base.
Knight(Magnet): The knight was created by placing two congruent rectangles on a base then creating the connecting rectangle with circles (only parts were left, the rest was snipped off during design) at the intersect points to give it that classic magnet outline. The entire shape was extruded equally on both sides. The knight's dimensions are 1.75 in tall and 2.5 cm wide at the base.
Pawn(Carbon): The pawn was created, in simplicity, by extruding a square, then extruding the letter C off the top.The pawn's dimensions are 1.5 in tall and 2 wide base.
After finishing the designs, the pieces were 3D printed. This will take a while, so don't expect to be done in a day. To eliminate time loss, we printed the same pieces of the same color at the same time. For example, we printed all eight orange pawns at the same time. As said before, feel free to change the pieces and dimensions as you will. We went through many other lab equipment before arriving at our pieces.
Step 3: Creating the Chessboard.
While waiting for the chess pieces to print, as no doubt you will, you should begin making the board. Our chessboard is made with the dimensions of 15 in by 15 in, the squares are 4.25 cm by 4.25 cm, and the border is 1 in wide. You will have to prime the border but not the playing space. After the primer is dry, create black squares by taping over columns and rows leaving certain spots open and the border, then spray paint the the open squares. This will only paint half of the black squares. After the paint is dry, repeat the pattern making sure to leave the right squares uncovered so they can be painted creating the distinct checkerboard pattern.
Making the storage area requires the following: four pieces of wood that are 5 cm tall, Thin pieces to intercept screws, two hinges, and a second piece of wood identical to the chessboard. You will prime the wood, then glue the pieces together and screw in the hinges the hinges. The screws should not come out of the top of the chessboard; you will need thin pieces of wood to intercept the screws. Your chessboard is complete once the pieces are printed.Enjoy! :)