The design for this chess-transformer was first posted on Thingiverse, a MakerBot, Industries website that allows users to post digital designs for objects that can be printed using a 3D printer, such as a MakerBot. Thingiverse user cymon designed the robot as an entry into MakerBot, Industries' "Design a Chess Set" challenge. The winner of the challenge will receive their very own MakerBot Replicator.
Cymon has named his design "Action Chess." Once printed, the artsy chess pieces fit together to make a chess-robot action figure. Cymon describes his inspiration in the design description:
Now you can battle your chess two ways. Traditionally on a chess board or combine your powers to form the ultimate chess fighting robot.
Had this idea a while ago and this contest gave me the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Having to use Tinkercad to make it happen was wonderfully educational too. It's a limited tool in many way [sic] and the limitations were in their own way liberating.
Here are the amusing instructions cymon provides for creating the Action Chess set:
1. Print a plate for each side or print the individual pieces the number of times specified.
2. Play chess or...
3. Slide the tab from the queen into the notch on the king and slide downards to lock the body together.
4. Take the 2 type A pawns and slide into the shoulder slots.
5. Take 4 type B pawns and lock their feet together to form 2 legs.
6. Flip the knights over for feet and snap the legs into them.
7. Snap the legs into the body.
8. Take the remaing 2 type B pawns and lock their feet into the feet of the rooks to form two upper arms.
9. Snap the shoulders pawns into the upper arms.
10. Snap the upper arm pawns into the bishops to form the hands.
Cymon's real name is Joseph Larson, from Provo Utah. He has an online shop where you can buy some of the 3D-printed things he has designed. Unfortunately, the robot chess set is not available for purchase yet, but he does sell H.P. Lovecraft-inspired chess pawns and a nifty-looking TARDIS ring. Also not available for purchase are the stackable chess pieces Larson designed, which would be very handy for chess-on-the-go.
MakerBots are (relatively) inexpensive 3D printers with which a user can create plastic models of objects. The printers extrude plastics in layers, determined by the designs on Thingiverse, to build a huge variety of objects. Here's a video demonstrating the newest top-of-the-line MakerBot that cymon might (should) win with his design: