Aug 19, 2017 | By Benedict

Adafruit has published a tutorial for a 3D printed chess set with a “Circuit Playground” theme. The detailed pieces are made from ColorFabb PLA-metal filaments, while the chess board can be printed in regular PLA.

Every now and again, a great project resurfaces after slipping under the radar on its first release. Adafruit’s 3D printed Circuit Playground chess set, published by the Ruiz Brothers back in 2015, is one such project.

Even on first glance, there’s a lot to love here: Chess? Timeless. Circuit Playground? Why, Adafruit’s kid-friendly web series is a fine way to learn about circuity. 3D printed copperFill and bronzeFill parts? Very nice indeed.

Of course, 3D printed chess sets can be found in various guises. From the Kickstarter-backed Throne of Kings set, to this weird fractal patterns setup, we’ve seen a fair number of 3D printed pawns in our lifetime.

But this 3D printed chess set has some cool, unique features. While the Circuit Playground connection may have no relevance to you, 3D printing with metallic filaments could be right up your alley if you like your prints gorgeously finished.

The 3D printing materials used in Adafruit’s chess set are copperFill and bronzeFill from ColorFabb, both of which are polymer-based but mixed with real metal particles. Although the ColorFabb filaments contain metal, they can be used with most FDM printers whose extruders work in the 210-230°C range.

With these cool materials to hand, the Ruiz Brothers (and now you) were able to produce quality-looking pieces that look as though they could have been made in a foundry! “In this guide we’ll take a look at how to get this shimmer and shine so it doesn't even look 3D printed,” they say.

Part of this process involves using a jewelry tumbling post-processing technique to smooth out the playing pieces after printing. This gives them that extra high-quality finish required for an item as ornate as a chess board.

As you may have noticed, the printed pieces aren’t your standard chess shapes, since characters from the aforementioned Circuit Playground are assigned roles in the game. Ladyada becomes the queen, Mosfet the cat is the king, Adabot is the knights, and the show’s LED characters become pawns.

But it’s not like you need to stick these unusual chess pieces on a regular old chess board, either, because the board itself can be printed to using normal plastic filament.

“The chess board is a modular design that can be printed in regular PLA,” the Ruiz Brothers say. “Pieces that make up the board are separated into 3 different parts. You can choose any two colors as your alternating squares. The board pieces use puzzle like connectors that snap fit together.”

Check out the project page for Adafruit’s 3D printable chess set right here.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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