JavaOne Chess Robot

Video of Chess Robot

Completed Robot

Chess Pieces 3D Models

I was very fortunate to have a very talented colleague John Yoon who used to work for Disney and DreamWorks on 3D animated movies. He took the Java Duke mascot and designed a chess set. As well as creating physical ones for the robot to play with we also created a software 3D chess game. For when the pices were taken he created tom and jerry style animations. For example, one chess pieces would smack the other with a gient mallet. That added a wimsical fun style to the game.

Making of Chess Pieces V1

The first attempt at creating the chess pieces I got the 3D body and 6 head models professionally 3D printed and finished. I then made silicon molds from those and cast a complete set in resin. Although a massive amount of work these came out well. The issue with them was they were too heavy for the robot to be able to pick up easily, hence V2 below.

Making of Chess Pieces V2

The second generation of chess pieces we bought our own basic $1000 3D printer and printed a set on there. This took careful editing of the 3D models so that they could be printed on a basic 3D printer. Once they were printed I smoothed them by exposing them to acetone vapor to carfully melt the serfice to a high gloss finish.

Making of Chess Board

The chess board was made from laser cut and engraved acrylic. Under the top are RGB LED strips so there are 4 LEDs under each square. This gave us software controllable lighting for the board so we could highlight squares or do any other animations we could imagine. 

Making of Base

The base was made from MDF then filled and painted. I can’t resist getting every detail perfected 🙂 so the power and network connections had their own labeled panel laser cut and engraved. I then filled the engraved lettering with white paint mixed with filler.