For my final project I ended up deciding to move forward with my chess board idea. For my project I will be combining a sort of rustic aesthetic for the features outside of the board while using a sort of technological aesthetic for the board itself. The components outside of the board will most likely be made of stained wood to provide this aesthetic and provide me with a material that I have lots of experience working with. My plan for the board itself is to have black and white frosted acrylic combined and then backlit with color changing LEDs underneath the board itself. Here’s a rough sketch of what I am currently thinking of.
My plan is to incorporate compartments into the areas around the board since that region will already be raised to make room for the LEDs. Each of these compartments will have lids that can removed to take out the chess/checkers pieces and ways to be secured so that the pieces won’t fall out during travel. My plan was also to have buttons on each side of the board that can control the color of the LEDs placed under that sides main color (one side controls the color of white squares and one side controls the color of black squares). I also thought it would be a nice touch, since I’ll already be cutting out the lids, to laser engrave some of the more common chess openings and defenses onto the lids. I haven’t made too many decisions regarding exact dimensions and materials since a lot of that will depend on the materials/resources/equipment that I have access to for manufacturing.
I wasn’t really sure what other aesthetics could be incorporated or replace the current aesthetics since the aesthetics is mostly being determined by the material options. One alternative I could do is just drop the rustic aesthetic and make the entire board/components out of acrylic. This would provide me with some unique opportunities to incorporate laser engraved designs and have a wider variety of color options. Most likely, whatever decision I make will be heavily influenced by the resources that I am able to gain access to. So, for example, I am unable to gain access to the woods shops on campus or the work order would take too long to complete then I could have the entire project be laser cut.