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This Origami Chess Board Unfolds Like Magic

Former SpaceX engineer Brian Ignaut has created a lot of origami-inspired furniture and “kinetic home products” that are whoa-inducing. But his folding chess set? It may be one of his masterpieces. Ignaut, who sells his origami furniture through his company, Degrees of Freedom, not only made a chess board unlike any other, but also one that’s quite functional. Plus, who could get bored of this board:

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Here’s a video demonstration of the DoF Chess Board’s movement, sans pieces. In the design, four wood panels are connected by six stainless steel links, four of which are used in pairs while the last two are used alone. The link pairs keep the joined panels parallel during all movement, while the single links permit rotation between boards which is used when pivoting the board into its playing orientation. I originally tried using this mechanism for an expanding table concept, and only came across the secondary crossing functionality after I started playing with the first prototype. I’ve been dreaming about this design for well over a year so it was fun to finally see it take shape! #enjoydof #degreesoffreedom #cncwoodworking #video #instapic #instagram #satisfying #love #design #chess #game #make #engineer #woodworking #origami #happy #gift #instagood

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Via Laughing Squid, the four-panel design is made from stainless steel and solid walnut. Ignaut says it is “based on a square twist origami fold pattern, but without the square.” The board comes with magnetic pieces that players can stow in trays. When they unfold the board, these same trays expand to rest beside the playing surface for quick and easy set-ups.

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Checkmate! Meet the DoF Chessboard. This four-panel design is made from solid walnut and stainless steel, and has trays for the opposing sides’ magnetic pieces which stow between the two halves of the playing surface when stored. During deployment, these trays expand to sit beside the playing surface for setup, and stow below the playing surface while in use. The assembly’s two degrees of freedom afford it some interesting behavior, which is ultimately essential when pivoting into its final playing orientation. Though it might not appear that way, the design is based on a square twist origami fold pattern, but without the square. Who wants to see the video of how it moves? #enjoydof #degreesoffreedom #cnc #woodworking #chess #game #modern #chessboard #walnut #stainlesssteel #instapic #love #instagram #design #modern #make #engineer #engineering #pic

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Ignaut adds in the DoF Chessboard description that, “The assembly’s two degrees of freedom afford it some interesting behavior, which is ultimately essential when pivoting into its final playing orientation.” Degrees of freedom in this context refers to the number of basic ways a rigid object can move through three-dimensional space. In total, there are six degrees of freedom. Three correspond to rotational movement around the x, y, and z axes.

Aside from the chess board, Ignaut’s other major origami masterpiece is probably the Kinetic Ring Box shown below. Or perhaps this desk lamp that folds completely flat. Maybe it’s this coffee table that looks like it came directly from the platonic realm of forms. Or maybe literally everything he makes is astonishingly cool—which would explain why every product on his site is, oh so sadly, sold out.

Kinetic ring box

Degrees of Freedom

What do you think about this origami chess board? Would you order up one of these if they were to hit the market again? Unfold your thoughts in the comments!

Feature image: Lhommebonhomme / Gengiskanhg