When it comes to shopping I take great pride in scouring every corner of the internet for quirky, cool, unique and meaningful gifts and homeware. Personalising gifts is certainly big business these days with ever-advancing technology allowing us to print our faces onto teacups, embroider the family name onto a football shirt, engrave our loved ones initials into jewellery and even 3D print an exact replica of our own heart for Valentine’s. with that in mind it made absolutely perfect sense to bring the magic of 3D printing into my own home to create a custom made chess set featuring my family as the pieces!
3D Print World based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire proudly offer a replica service allowing people to bring in existing items that can be scanned and replicated, submitted by design or created from scratch; from bringing a prototype to fruition to replacing broken ornaments, fixtures and fittings – the possibilities of 3D printing are literally endless. One of our favourite pastimes in the Kiss household is undoubtedly playing chess and so I thought it would make a great talking point and family heirloom as well as being a thoughtful and fun activity to distract the children from their televisions and iPads.
In order to create the chess pieces I visited the Aylesbury store with my parents and two children in tow to have our head and shoulders scanned with a small handheld device which involved sitting upright on a chair and keeping perfectly still for several seconds as the scanner passed around us – a fun challenge for my 5yr old autistic son! The data captured was then transferred to the computer where a 3D image of each person was created and stored in order to be tweaked and turned into a chess piece before going to print.
In a nutshell 3D printing works by creating objects from filament stacked into thousands of tiny layers slice by slice from the bottom upwards to form a solid or hollow object and can even include complex and moving parts such as hinges and wheels. Pieces of this size take several hours each to print and seeing as I spent my 30th birthday this year in Paris it was a nice touch to print the pawns as miniature Eiffel Tower’s.
I decided to have my chess pieces in black and white but thanks to the hundreds of colours of filament available you can create pieces in literally every colour of the rainbow. I’m beyond thrilled with how our family chess set has turned out and proudly have it displayed in my lounge. It’s not often that you get to turn your cheerful children into chess pieces and play against each other but it’s created hours of family fun that we will love and cherish forever.
3D printing makes anything possible and is guaranteed to be the most unique gift you will ever receive. I’d love to turn my family into Monopoly pieces next, create funky Christmas decorations for our tree and print trinket boxes with our names on. If you can think it then you can print it, what will your imagination create?