National | ANZAC

3D Technology helps recreate ANZAC soldier's missing chess piece

A Whitireia design lecturer is using 3D printing technology to recreate the missing piece of a chess set which belonged to her great grandfather during World War One.

Alice Moore is hoping to complete the set carved by her great grandfather, ANZAC soldier Harry Bourke while in the trenches at Passchendale in 1917.

She says her great grandfather lost the piece she is trying to recreate after he was wounded in battle.

Harry 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 since been handed down through Harry's family, and now belongs to Alice's generation.

“As children, we played with a fill-in piece from another set,' says Alice. 'Recently I looked at the set and realised I could utilise my creative skills to make it whole once more.”

In 2012, Alice Moore used 3D modelling programmes to digitally recreate the basic shape and texture of the chess piece, before using a 3D printer at Victoria University to print a copy.

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 CMYK ceramic 3D printer at Ink Digital in Wellington.

“The technologies that went into making the pieces in 1917 and the technologies that go into re-making them today could not be further apart. Where Harry created the pieces in trying conditions and out of limited resources - a stick of willow, a pocket knife and boot polish - I am utilising cutting edge technologies while sitting in the comfort of my living room.”

The New Zealand Division suffered its darkest day of World War One during the Battle of Passchendaele, with the loss of 842 soldiers. The centenary of the battle will be commemorated in October this year as part of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage's WW100 Programme.