Giant Chess, A Practical Approach
Several years ago, sometime in 2005, I played a giant chess game that was set up at a hotel that I was staying at. I thought it was a novel idea - playing outdoors, physically moving big pieces around, surveying the checkered battle field from different angles, and socializing with other enthusiasts. After arriving home, I began an internet search to find a set like the one that I had seen. I soon realized that there would be no place to keep 32 giant solid chess pieces when they weren't being played! How would I take the set to the park or friends house? Like most households, there simply wasn't any available storage space and I didn't own a vehicle large enough to transport them.
Sure, I could find smaller sets that could be stored and transported, but I wanted a BIG chess set!
Testing an Idea
Toying with different ways that would fit into my practical needs, collapsible chess evolved. Using thin particle board for the piece profiles, duct tape to hold them together, and spray paint for color, I created a set to see how it would look (I scaled the piece heights and design based on a wooden staunton chess set that I've played with for years). The result was fantastic! I now had what I was looking for in a giant chess set. It was 3-dimensional and would collapse flat so that it could be stored. When I decided to share this giant collapsible chess idea, partical board and duct tape simply wasn't viable, of course.
Plastic, being lighter weight and easier to work with, was the most suitable choice for constructing the set. The chess panel profiles were cut out of a polystyrene plastic sheet using CNC technology (the new generation of panels are "stamped" out of plastic sheets like cookie cutters). Working with a CAD designer, a flexible fastener utilizing "living hinge" technology became the solution for attaching the panels together. The fasteners are injection molded. Finally, ten working plastic prototype sets were created. Generation 1.0 was born.
After producing the first prototypes in 2006, a patent was awarded and the project was put on hold. There simply wasn't enough capital at the time to move forward with production.
12 years later...
In the summer of 2018, the time had come to start the venture anew. Outerlite, LLC was formed and retracing steps from years ago, new designs were made, and tooling for parts completed. Finally, local plastic companies here in Fort Worth began manufacturing the fastener and panels.
We officially launched our product in July of 2019. In addition to the chess set, we also offer a polyester duffel bag to store and transport your Outerlite Chess. You can also purchase a colorful 8x8' vinyl checkered mat to play on as well. These accessories, and the chess set, are available in our online store.
There is only one giant collapsible chess set available anywhere. And it's here you'll find it.
Frank W. Traylor
We welcome your comments and suggestions! Your input will help us improve our products. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|A custom duffel bag is a must to store and transport your Outerlite Chess set.
Outerlite Collapsible Chess
vs. Other Solid Chess
||Outerlite Chess (collapsible)
||Comparable Chess (solid)
36x12x6" - 30 lbs
31x28x20" - 32 lbs
30x26x20" - 33 lbs
26x26x25" - 42 lbs
1 polyester duffel bag:
36x12x12” zippered top
7 nylon duffel bags:
20” circumference 26” tall w/rope cinch
|* 25" king with 12" insert attached to bottom.