Chess meets giant (miniature) robots in awesome DIY Action Chess

chess meets giant miniature robots in awesome diy action actionchess

Joe Larson is a man with a dream. A dream of making Chess a bit more akin to one of those old episodes of Transformers where the Constructicons would team up to form the stupid-huge, garishly-colored Devastator. Or, we suppose, like Voltron. Whichever 1980s cartoon reference you prefer, the important thing here is that Joe Larson is also a man who owns a MakerBot Replicator machine.

For those unfamiliar with the device, the Replicator is essentially a consumer-grade 3D printer that scans in design specs and spits out as many copies of the plan in utterly futuristic three-dimensional ABS plastic as your heart desires. It’s marketed as a device that allows users to replicate any household object they may need, but the far more interesting uses for the machine come from inventive, creative types. Inventive, creative types like Joe.

For the most part, Action Chess is a pretty standard Chess set. Both the pieces and board exhibit a kind of utilitarian simplicity that is at once functional and attractive. If you want to play a game of Chess, that’s absolutely an option.

However, if your ideas of entertainment skew toward childhood memories of huge robots stomping on puny humans, Larson’s Action Chess has you covered there too. As an unexpected part of their design, the set’s pieces can be joined together to form a surprisingly cool looking robot that only vaguely belies its origin as a cluster of pawns, rooks and those little horsie guys who can never walk a straight line.

That image you see at top is a mock-up of the set’s design posted by Mr. Larson to MakerBot enthusiast community site Thingiverse. More crucially, it was posted alongside Larson’s original design specs for the set, allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to put together their own Action Chess set. Larson’s own set isn’t quite complete, but that’s actually to our benefit, as he’s been documenting his attempt to print this thing into reality on his blog. Since it’s safe to assume that most of you don’t own a 3D printer, this series of posts is an intensely informative look at what goes into actually creating one’s wildest dreams using such a machine.

These machines are a very solid indicator that we’re moving ever-closer to living in straight up science fiction, and it’s heartening to see that man’s first inclination when faced with amazing new technology is to create cool toys.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.