So, I got this idea...
A chessboard that you'd mount on the wall. Like a knick-knack shelf, but the figurines are chess pieces.
Instead of just looking pretty, you would actually play chess against a remote opponent via WiFi.
I've seen people using industrial robots to do this, or robot arm kits. However, they're always on a table, I want mine to be on the wall.
Originally, I thought it would be basically like a 3D printer, but since we won't need sub-milimeter accuracy, we should be able to simplify it.
The final project will be made of translucent plastic to accommodate LED backlighting. However, I decided to invest a little time to build a foam core model. It has really helped me judge the right aesthetic size proportions.
Note how shallow the knick-knack shelves are. This is important so the shelves would not obscure the chess men when viewing the board from above or below.
Scott, suggested that maybe strings would be simpler than rack/pinion and threaded rods. I'm considering all options. Thanks Scott!
I have not figure out how to apply the string and pulley concept to pick up and move the chess pieces. I thought I could use threaded rod to skewer a case that holds each chessmen, but then I realized that to actually pull it off the shelf, I need yet another mechanism to slide the box in the Z direction. Grr!