Meet Nolan! He’s working with instructor Logan as part of Game-U’s New Jersey Accelerate program. Nolan’s learning how to make and print 3D models using TinkerCAD, a web-based modeling program. Check out his chess set! Nolan gave an ordinary knight his own special twist by adding a zoological component. See how he did it!
Modeling in a digital 3D space shares many similarities with modeling in a non-digital 3D space. Modelers of both schools stretch, compress, soften, or roughen materials to form the basic shapes that become the building blocks of a composite shape. But because all digital modeling takes place on a computer, through a 2D screen, modelers like Nolan must learn how to navigate a set of perspective tools that allow them to examine their model from all angles, as if it’s actually 3D rather than only a graphical representation of something 3D. Nolan’s picking up these navigation skills quickly! He reshapes, resizes, and repositions TinkerCAD’s primitive building blocks (for example, cubes, spheres, and cylinders) into chess pieces and other models, switching perspectives continuously to ensure his creations accurately represent real life.
Using these navigation skills, Nolan started modeling a chess set with Logan. His knight began as the recognizable horsehead found in so many other chess sets. But as Nolan and Logan worked, they noticed that the knight’s elongated head made it resemble a giraffe more than a horse. Rather than fix the head, they incorporated additional primitives to completely transform the horse into a giraffe. Knight, meet your new steed! Nolan liked the finished product so much that later, when he earned the Sculptech badge by modeling himself (complete with a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap), he posed his character with the giraffe for a photo. Finally, Nolan tested the sizing of his chess pieces by exporting the king’s TinkerCAD file into a printer-compatible format and then 3D printing drafts of the model. With the king as a sizing reference, Nolan’s chess set – giraffe knight and all – is well on its way to completion!
Well done, Nolan! Thanks for sharing your chess set (and your self-portrait!) with us. Your TinkerCAD skills are obviously coming along. Besides customizing the knight, you even managed to replicate the notch in the bishop’s cap! Good work! As you finish this project, don’t forget to stay in touch. We’re excited to see that printed chess set!