Tuesday 13 May 2014

3D Printers and Laser Cutters

The design and production of chess sets is most likely going to change within the next few years. The availability of the 3D printer (at an affordable price) is likely to see people starting to produce their own sets. As long as they match official tournament specifications this should not be a problem, and in fact may prove a boon to players and clubs that are forever losing that odd pawn (or king!). And as an extension of this, I would not be surprised if the FIDE Rules Commission start receiving applications from people wishing to have their own designs approved for tournament play.
The other way of creating the DIY chess set is using a laser cutter. As this medium is 2 dimensional, this is much more of a bespoke pursuit, as the pieces produced are flat rather than round. I have just seen a nice implementation of this, with the board containing slots for the pieces. While such a set is not suitable for tournament play, it has the advantage of being quite compact when stored, and may be useful for the player on the go.

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