hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

June 27, 2012

Rave reviews for Whittier student's chess set

By Alex Lippa

You could call him the "king" of 3-D design.

With one of his final projects of the school year, junior Nick Dupont designed a 3-D chess set in his CAD Drafting class at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High.

After a suggestion by his teacher Jack Ulrich, Dupont decided to mix two of his hobbies to accomplish his goal. He used SolidWorks, a 3-D modeling program, to design his own chess board. He knew that it would be tough, but he was eager to get started on it.

"I knew it would be a challenge and, since I love chess, I figured it would be a perfect project for me," Dupont said. "Mr. Ulrich proposed the idea to me, and I accepted it."

By the looks of it, Dupont completely passed his challenge. After designing the chess set on the computer, he made it reality by using a 3D printer in the school's CAD lab. Once the board and pieces were printed, he put a unique design to each piece.

"It's one thing to make something in 3-D on a computer," he said. "But when you physically hold it, it's so much cooler."

Dupont decided on a neo-Victorian theme and he individually spray-painted each spine, spire and spiral from the kings to the pawns. The pieces don't look like normal chess pieces. The pawns are a spherical shape, looking like the globe that stands in Flushing, N.Y., from the 1964 World's Fair. The knights look like the mirror gazed into by the evil witch in "Snow White.''

The set impressed the school's Chess Club Advisor Patrick Allen.

"It's one of the most elegant chess sets I've ever seen," he said. "I hope to share it with the club members."

Dupont's major of CAD/Drafting is becoming a popular occupation for students. CAD — or Computer Aided Design — uses computers to draft and create a design, solely on the computer. Many manufacturers use CAD software when designing their products. The ability to print three-dimensionally makes it even more unique.

"3-D printing is now being used throughout the industry," said CAD teacher Scott Robertson.

CAD Drafting also helped produce Whittier's vocational student of the year. Senior Dan Muise won the prestigious honor handed out by the school this year. He was also certified by the ADDA (American Design Drafting Association) as a mechanical drafter, an achievement that is difficult for high school students to attain.

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