Print Chess Pieces, Then Defeat The Chess-Playing Printer

Chess is undoubtedly a game of the mind. Sadly, some of the nuances are lost when you play on a computer screen. When a game is tactile, it carries a different gravity. Look at a poker player shuffling chips, and you’ll see that when a physical object is on the line, you play for keeps. [Matou], who is no stranger to 3D printing, wanted that tactility, but he didn’t stop at 3D printed pieces. He made parts to transform his Creality Ender 3 Pro into a chess-playing robot.

To convert his printer, [Matou] designed a kit that fits over the print head to turn a hotend into a cool gripper. The extruder motor now pulls a string to close the claw, which is a darn clever way to repurpose the mechanism. A webcam watches the action, while machine vision determines what the player is doing, then queries a chess AI, and sends the next move to OctoPrint on a connected RasPi. If two people had similar setups, it should be no trouble to play tactile chess from opposite ends of the globe.

Physical chess pieces and computers have mixed for a while and probably claimed equal time for design and gameplay. There are a couple of approaches to automating movement from lifting like [Matou], or you can keep them in contact with the board and move them from below.

4 thoughts on “Print Chess Pieces, Then Defeat The Chess-Playing Printer

  1. wow. i designed a chess set where i thought i had reduced the pieces to their abstract geometric ideals but at least i used cones and spheres. i had no idea it could be taken so much further!

  2. I’ve got a large ~300mm ID delta 3D printer I just might have to try this on. It’s already on OctoPi and with the bowden setup, I’m thinking the claw might be open/closed via filament movement in a bowden configuration. Probably some foam on the inside of the jaws to allow some play in the mechanism without stress on the extruder gear.

    Not only can the effector be moved out of the way quickly for the image capture, it can be moved back into position quickly to grab the captured game piece and fling it out the side.

    Once the sun goes down, it’ll be part gathering time, design time and assembly time.

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