Week 02

computer aided design

I am familiar mostly with 2d and vectorial drawing and I also regularly model -mostly orthogonal stuff- so my aim was to give new softwares a go (Blender, Freecad and ExplicitHistory plugin on Rhino) and start to explore some final prject pieces -still thinking of a cheesboard-.
Find below a quick review of new softwares I tryed as well as first steps on some chess pieces.


I downloaded and gave blender a try. Marcelo Berruti, a local blender guru helped us out with basic first tips and customizing everyone's layout. Amazing open source program, very complete, customizable and full of gadgets and funtions. This does help a lot but can sometimes be confusing. Creating a customized workspace did help a lot.

Still, I found it difficult to start working from solids and not from curves. Editing a solid is not as intuitive as in other softwares. Working on edit mode is required and selecting the element -edge,vertex, etc- that will be edited is required.Object mode is used to edit the whole object and does not allow to edit a vertex o side of it

Phyton friendly! this is what I most loved about it and it means you can code phyton almost everywhere.


Love the fact that the software itself allow to set constraints to curves. Very precise (not like blender). In freecad the work starts with vectors (lines, curves, etc) which are then turned into solids.

Being parametric -with no plugin needed- is the best part. Very intuitive for parametric usage.


Getting ready for next week, I started to define several ways to create chessboard pieces and to explore how to make them parametric whith Rhino's Explicit History (grasshopper).

For grasshopper begginers this guide is usefull to have a general idea of how it works. I watch the ones that include biarcs since I may be using that for the Horse chesspiece.

Some pieces can be done with intersecting planes. Planes are usualy perpendicular since this increases stability. Even If I won't go this way I did create a couple of planes and pieces to see the output

A lot of chess pieces, let's take tha pawn as example, have double symmetry. This means I can only sketch the profile of the desired piece and revolved it 360 degrees.

For non double-symmetrical pieces, let's say the king, creating a more complex design with the same revolving tool is posible if two variations of the same profile is used. In the example below I tried rotating two different profiles 90 degrees each, two times and conform a complete 360 revolve by interleaving them.

I did have to make sure the profiles share a common border profile to complete the revolve, so I basically started with a basic profile, duplicated it and tryed modifying it slightly to breake the symmetry.

I tryed both, square and circular bases for the pieces. Below I tryed to make parametric a square base of a piece.

The horse will be the only piece with one axis of simetry and no revolving involved so I started giving it a try and thinking how can it be parametrisized. I will probably create curves and use the loft tool.

I also thought about creating the negative of the chess pieces. This has a lot to do with casting and molds and can be an inetresting solution if printing all pieces in 3d is off price. If not, using a transparent material to combinate both techniques casting and modeling can also be interesting.

Hello visitor. You can download all the working files I created this week here.

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