My Chess Set
Tinkercad. A simple to use 3D design web application created by the amazing people over at Autodesk. It was incredible easy to use and navigate, enabling me to get started right away with making shapes. I was already familiar with navigating 3D workspaces and I quickly began using simple boolean functions on the default library of solids that were provided. Basically I utilized a lot of additive and subtractive methods upon different combinations of shapes to create new yet relatively simple solids. After collecting and working in such a modular way I was able to combine these components into towers which formed the chess piece shapes. Certain sections were more fit as bases, others as embellishments, and still others more like crowns or headpieces.
I researched re-imagined chess set designs by artists, particularly modernistic ones, for example: Yoko Ono's White Chess set, or Marcel Duchamp's Readymake Set , and of course many many others . While some were more conceptual than utilitarian, each artist took their beloved game in their own direction. I wanted to take a spin and create a cover-piece of a well-trodden group of objects for my first 3D printing project. I decided the pieces' relative heights should be assigned in accordance to their estimated mathematical value in the game (either 1, 3, 5, 9, or priceless). I also wanted an inherent and internal logic to be evident from the pieces and their designs. Indentifiable and distinguishable on the board, while simultaneously blending into each other and seperable from the game they were mean to play as statuesque and column like art objects.
Practically, as I printed out individual segments with the Ultimaker 3D Printer, I had to consider how the obj file would translate into g-code. This meant I couldn't make top-heavy designs, or unsupported structures, especially since I was making hot-dog style, vertical objects. Iteratively I swapped out and edited for days on end to ultimately come to a completed piece. It was frustrating at times because the printing process would take many hours, and I had to stand-by in case there were failures or inconsistencies in the printing process. Many times I would have to cancel, or re-start the entire process without truly knowing if it would work. I optimized my printing time especially since there were fellow peers that also had to share the few printers available at the institution.
I set out to create the non-figurative, consistent, and stylistic chess set of my wildest imagination. I pondered what each individual chess piece meant and felt to me as I closed my eyes and conjured up ideal forms. I considered the ranks of each piece, the range of legal moves a piece makes, and the overal character in relation to each other. The pawn: humble, loyal, and unassuming, akin to the spherical motifs I ended up using. The bishop: piercing, persistent, and cunning, as reflected in its intersecting conical form. The knight: valiant, unpredictable, and maneuverable, much like its armored and spiky look. The rook: solid, direct, and imposing, as seen in the cubic and square motifs. The queen: dynamic, powerful, and long-ranged, not unlike its voluptuous and starry appearance. The king: careful, masculine, and invaluable, as evident in its regal crown and supremely complex shape.