Why build a CNC mill when you can have a chess robot instead?

[Patrick McCabe] enjoys the challenge of playing chess against the computer but he wasn’t satisfied with the flat experience of on-screen gaming. No problem, he just built his own gantry-style chess robot that he can play against. Don’t be confused, he still doesn’t have to touch the pieces, but instead uses the dedicated control board seen on the left of the image above. The robotic arm that is mounted on a gantry takes care of moves for both players.

It’s a pretty normal CNC build, using four stepper motors to slide the moving bits along precision rod. An Arduino Mega drives the system, with a PC doing the heavy lifting using a program called My Robot Lab.

We certainly like it that [Patrick] spent a little bit of time making the cabinet and visible parts look nice. Chess is a civilized game and unfinished parts would be out-of-place. We didn’t see it in his writeup, but the one feature we’re really hoping he has implemented is the ability to have the robot automatically reset the board at the beginning of a game.

As you might have guess, you’ll find embedded video after the break.

Comments

  1. Monty Werthington says:

    Well that certainly makes for a nice piece of Interactive furniture. A nice clean Project, well done on such a great Hack.

  2. Keith says:

    add more sensors and then its more like real chess. :)

  3. MrX says:

    It is a really nice build but it still doesn’t solve one problem – I believe most Chess players like touching and feeling the Chess pieces. I’d put a camera on top to track your manual moves, instead of using a robotic arm for both computer and human moves.

  4. hpux735 says:

    This is very cool. But, in addition to the comments above, I desperately want this to look even more victorian. That would put it way over the top. This already has a very nice wooden construction, but if the plastic was replaced or covered by brass…

  5. brad says:

    even slower than playing NES battlechess…

  6. darthsynack says:

    Great build, even better is Led Zeppelin’s Fool in the rain playing in the background :)

  7. Chunky Daddy says:

    Great build. It might have been cooler if the pieces were controlled using a magnetic solenoid under the table. The robotic arm could be hidden under the table, and it would look like the pieces were moving themselves

    very harry-potterish

  8. Hirudinea says:

    Very nice, but I think there should be a better interface, use magnetic sensors under the board so the player can actually move the pieces himself (I know MrX said use a camera but magetnic sensors and magnets in the pieces is an age old technique for computer chess) or mabye replace the button interface with a cheap android tablet which displays a chess board.

  9. kb says:

    Terrific!

    My only question is why not have it tell you about the illegal move before it actually moves the piece?

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