Feb 8, 2016 | By Alec

Even though 3D printing has been used to make amazing tributes to very futuristic video games such as Fallout 4, it’s quite remarkable that chess – one of the oldest games still around – has also been repeatedly 3D printed. Remember this 3D printed chess set inspired by Game of Thrones? The ability to reimagine the two armies through 3D printing is especially fascinating, and Romanian designer Lucian Popescu gone for a particularly elegant concept for his 3D printed Pandov Chess Set. He has combined the classic white-black setup with a gorgeous, simple style: light against darkness, a simple elegance against imposing might.

There is something remarkable about the game of chess, which has been played in essentially the same way for more than 500 years. Lucian, an experienced 3D printer, felt that importance on his shoulders as he chose this project to work on. “I have been playing with 3D printing for several years and I came to see it as the perfect means to actually embody the things I imagine,” he tells 3ders.org. “I took the entire creation process of the Pandov Chess Set on a very personal level – I imagined that if I finish the project, I would be the winner of the game of chess.”

While some 3D printed chess sets become completely unrecognizable in what they represent, Lucian decided to take his inspiration from the actual game as it has been presented for hundreds of years: light against dark. “[I saw it as] two conflicting sides, one that evolves upwards and the other downwards. The reduction in volume came also as a necessity to align with the production requirements,” he explains. And that is clearly visible in his designs. The white army is almost angelic in its appearance, featuring a slender lightness that resembles men and women wearing robes that flare at the bottom. The black army, in contrast, seems almost angry, with heavy shoulders standing up menacingly. And yet, the Pandov Chess set is clearly a single entity that logically belongs together.

The designs themselves have been under development for some time, and some pieces have circulated the web before. However, the set is now completely finished, and both full armies are available through Lucian’s Shapeways page. This also means that 3D printing quality is guaranteed. “I used the 3D printing services available on Shapeways, which proved suitable for the detailed design of the Pandov Chess Set pieces. The Chess Set is available for print in nylon plastic, metal and steel,” he explains.

However, the set is also about more than chess. It’s also a design effort that explores the limits and potential of 3D printing, Lucian says. “From the very beginning I felt that experimenting with 3D printing would require some extra support, so I tried to bring together a team. We’re just beginning to collaborate and put our ideas into practice. The work we do can be best described as a sort of visual meditation based on shared ideas. We see Pandov as a means of exploring the limitless possibilities that 3D printing has to offer,” he explains.

But the experience has been very positive, and Lucian especially enjoyed the 3D printed results. Especially the white polymer prints convinced him to take light as their main medium, which will also be visible in their newest project: The Conflict Collection. “The collection bears the name Conflict as it focuses on visually expressing the idea of a primordial struggle. The struggle is staged through a series of 3D printed designs with a sculptural line,” he explains. “We imagined objects behaving as characters, evolving vertically as the conflict unfolds. Tension is expressed through changes in color, texture and light and also by the bringing together of contrasting materials, such as wood and polymer.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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