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YouTube Maker Stars Collaborate on Charity Chess Set


Make It Forward, is a really fun and worthy charity project that was started by online woodworker Mark Dolan. The project was initiated as a collaboration between five well-known YouTube and Twitter makers, Mark, Brain McCauley, Brandon Fischer, Sean Rubino, and Make:’s very own Jimmy DiResta.

The idea was for one of the group to begin a project, in this case a chess set with a board, a set of playing pieces, and a storage drawer, and then pass it on to the next maker who would add his part and then pass it on to the next collaborator. The finished set was then put up for auction and the proceeds went to the charitable organization, Paws2Care. Paws2Care is a non-profit that uses pets in therapy to help kids with cancer, special needs kids, and wounded soldiers.

Mark Dolan started things off by making the checkerboard and passing it along to Brian McCauley. Mark’s video below only mentions the project in passing, but you get to see his messy shop and some of his lovely turning projects.

Brain McCauley made the case and the drawer for the set. He then passed it on to Brandon Fischer who made the drawer pull (no video). Fischer then passed in along to Sean Rubino.

It came to Sean Rubino to sculpt the feet for the set. With the board and case complete, it was time for Jimmy DiResta to populate it with playing pieces.

Jimmy first turned the pieces on this lathe and then molded and cast two sets of playing pieces in urethane resin.

In the end, the project and the auction made $545 for Paws2Care. We love the idea of these charity maker collaborations and would love to see more of them. It’s a great way to see makers working together, riffing off of each other’s creativity, and it’s a great way to generate some money and media attention for a worthy cause. Nice job, guys. What are you going to work on next?


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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