David Huerta at the Brooklyn Museum shared with us a recent project: 3D Scanning and Printing a Chess Set at the Brooklyn Museum.
Earlier this year, we started exploring how 3D printing could enhance the visitor experience and began by introducing it on that month’s sensory tour. In addition to tours, we also host film screenings and as my colleague Elisabeth mentioned, this Saturday, September 28th we’ll be hosting a special screening of Brooklyn Castle, a film about a local school with a talented chess team that crushed more chess championships than any other school in the US. Since the screening also includes some chess playing outside the film, we figured it would be great to tie that into the context of the museum’s collection by curating and scanning our own 3D printed chess set.
Since April we’ve learned quite a bit about what makes an ideal scan and have spread that knowledge to our resident camera wizard, Bob Nardi, who I teamed up with for this project. We already had scans of the Lost Pleiad and the Double Pegasus, so we added them into the mix as the Queen and Knight, respectively. We also found the best candidates for the remaining pieces:
- Pawn (Egypt): Lion-Headed Gaming Piece
- Rook (New York): Rook [from a Wedgewood chess set]
- Bishop (Japan) : Emma – o, King and Judge of Hell
- King (Egypt): Senwosret III
We worked with our conservation staff to get access to the pieces which weren’t on view, including the roughly 3,000+ year-old Egyptian gaming piece Bob and I were a little nervous around. Using the same software combination of 123D Catch and Meshmixer, the scanned models were then generated and cleaned up and made watertight for printing.
Having the 3D models ready to print, I worked on resizing them as chess pieces, making sample prints with some unsightly lime-green PLA we had laying around. Chess pieces have been remixed a lot over it’s history, varying from the small magnetic sets you would find in travel stores to the more elaborate Frank Gehry set. By and large there’s no universal standard for the size and proportions, but the US Chess Federation has some guidelines on the proportions relative to the board which were [partially] adopted in the final design of the set….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!