Lec­turer cre­ates 3D An­zac chess set

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Whi­tireia de­sign lec­turer Alice Moore is hop­ing to fi­nally com­plete the chess set carved by her great-grand­fa­ther dur­ing World War I by us­ing 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy to recre­ate the piece he lost after he was wounded in bat­tle.

An­zac sol­dier Harry Bourke carved the set while in the trenches of Pass­chen­daele in 1917.

The Ger­man at­tacks came mostly dur­ing the night, so the sol­diers of­ten faced long days look­ing for some­thing to keep them oc­cu­pied.

‘‘It turned out that we could all play chess,’’ Bourke wrote later. ‘‘There was no hope of get­ting a chess set, so I had a go at carv­ing one, with the help of a sharp pocket knife, and some wil­low wood grow­ing nearby.

‘‘We made a board out of a square of oil sheet and a bot­tle of ink, and we used to play in our spare time.’’

Bourke and the chess set were sep­a­rated when he was se­ri­ously wounded. How­ever, they were re­united long after the war was over.

His kit-bag was full of shrap­nel holes and soaked in his own blood, but the chess set he kept in­side the bag was in­tact, with the ex­cep­tion of one miss­ing pawn.

The set has been handed down through Bourke’s fam­ily, and now be­longs to Moore’s gen­er­a­tion.

‘As chil­dren, we played with a fill-in piece from another set,’ Moore said. ‘‘Re­cently I looked at the set and re­alised I could use my cre­ative skills to make it whole once more.’’

In 2012, she used 3D mod­el­ling pro­grammes Maya and ZBrush to dig­i­tally recre­ate the ba­sic shape and tex­ture of the chess piece, be­fore us­ing a 3D printer at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity to print it off.

Last year, she re­turned to the piece with a de­sire to cre­ate a more ac­cu­rate model, and recre­ated it us­ing 3D scan­ners and a full colour 3D printer.

Moore said the re­sults had not been 100 per cent ac­cu­rate and that she was work­ing on re­fin­ing the piece be­fore pre­sent­ing the pro­ject at next year’s The Myr­iad Faces of War: 1917 and its legacy sym­po­sium in Welling­ton.

A chess piece is dig­i­tally scanned at Whi­tireia Polytech.

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