Princess Power: Making More Magic

This blog was originally written by Annie Cheung of the SOLIDWORKS Product Definition Team and Magic Wheelchair Build Team. It was originally posted in the Magic Wheelchair community on 3DSwym.

After Freyja’s costume reveal, there was still more magic making for her and her family.  To control different configurations of the castle lights like the color, we attached RFID tags to the base of figurines specially made for each member of her family.  When a different figurine was placed on the tag reader, the lights on the castle would change to the colors and effects stored in the tag.

After the reveal, we wanted to make another set of “chess pieces”.  It was a team effort to make all six unique pieces and a custom display case.

Chess Pieces

For the modeling of the chess pieces, our magicians were Albert Hernandez, Rob Jost and Jordan Tadic.  We started with Jordan modeling the base in SOLIDWORKS xDesign ​​​​​​​with a diameter to match the tag reader and the cuts to mount the magnets.

Starting base

Each chess piece was a symbol to represent Freyja and the special people in her life – mom (Aimee), dad (Johnny), sister (Thora), and camp counselor/personal care assistant (Medha).

Freyja’s Chess Pieces

Freyja had two chess pieces.  The first one was a dragonfly.  Freyja loves dragonflies.  The symbol holds a special meaning as well because the pattern of the brain for Freyja’s condition, Pontocerebellar hypoplasia, is described as a dragonfly shape.

Jordan modeled two versions of the dragonfly.  The first version where the dragonfly was upright had some issues when 3D printing it because of the locations for the supports.

Dragonfly – Version 1
Dragonfly – Version 2

Freyja’s second chess piece was her Mickey Mouse heart charm that she got during her Disney World trip through Make a Wish foundation.  Albert took on the task to replicate the intricate design patterns just from a picture of the charm.

Mickey Mouse Heart Charm

Thora’s Chess Piece (Sister)

Thora’s chess piece was inspired by her love of art and cats. Albert also designed this piece where he modeled her artwork on a canvas with paint brush and palette.  Albert had to make sure the lines for the art were thick enough to come through in the 3D printing.

Art by Thora Chess Piece

Aimee’s Chess Piece (Mom)

Aimee loves birds so we knew her piece had to be a bird.  Rob took on this challenge using his expert skills with SOLIDWORKS xShape.

Bird Chess Piece

Johnny’s Chess Piece (Dad)

Johnny’s chess piece drew from his love of skate boarding and video games.  Jordan designed the skateboard putting it in an orientation where the bottom could be visible where Meaghan painted Pac-Man graphic.

Pac-Man Skateboard Chess Piece

Medha’s Chess Piece (Camp counselor and personal care assistant)

During our first visit with Freyja, we asked her many questions to get to know her.  When we asked her the question, “Why do you love Double H Ranch?”, she talked about her camp counselor Medha.  She met Medha at Double H Ranch and the connection continued when Medha became her PCA.  We merged her special connection with Medha and Double H Ranch.  Albert modeled the chess piece inspired by an illustration on their website representing the Double H Ranch logo.

Double H Ranch Trees Chess Piece

Finishing touches

Once all of the pieces were 3D printed, all of the pieces were handed over to Meaghan for painting.  Her beautiful work really brought the pieces to life.  David added magnets to all of the pieces and had the task of applying the small jewels to fill in the outline for Mickey Mouse on the heart piece.

Display Case

We wanted to create a display case for the chess set.  The display case was going to be made from acrylic.  The pieces were going to be cut on the laser cutter in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab​​​​​​​.  Chinloo started to design the pieces of the box in xDesign.  Using the models of the chess pieces, she could assemble all the pieces to make sure all the pieces fit.  Once the design was finalized, Chinloo exported all of the outlines of the pieces from xDesign.

​​​​​​​Artwork for box top

Each build has been a new opportunity to learn new things.  With a lot of help and training from Chinloo, I learned how to use the laser cutter.  I started to experiment with etching photos onto the acrylic.  For the chess piece display case, I took a photo of the family before the reveal and etched the picture onto the clear acrylic.  I iterated on the contrast of the photo to find the right combination for the photo to be visible clearly.

Finished Chess Piece Set

Design your own chess piece

If you want to make your own chess piece using the starting base, you can go to to Magic Wheelchair 3DSwym community and download the 3DXML file.


Thank you to our magic makers: Albert Hernandez, who modeled Freyja’s heart, Thora’s art, and Medha’s Double H ranch trees. Jordan Tadic, who modeled the bases for the pieces, Freyja’s dragonfly, and Johnny’s skateboard. Rob Jost, who modeled Aimee’s bird. Chinloo Lama, who modeled the display case. Meaghan Murphy, who painted the figurines. David Law, who attached the magnets and jewels to the figurines. And Annie Cheung, who led the project, fabricated, and assembled everything.


Help support Magic Wheelchair and amazing kiddos like Freyja!

SOLIDWORKS is proud to help the non-profit Magic Wheelchair achieve its goal of providing kids in wheelchairs with epic costumes and experiences. SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab funded Freyja’s costume build in its entirety, but we invite our readers to support Magic Wheelchair in Freyja’s name! If you visit this page, you can donate directly to Magic Wheelchair and help support them all the lives it touches with its great work.

Freyja is no stranger to magic—every year she has a magical time in the mountains at Double H Ranch, a camp in the Adirondacks for children with serious medical conditions. Like Magic Wheelchair, Double H Ranch promotes inclusion. Inclusion is important to Freyja and her family, and you can see how happy the camp makes her in her bright smile at the top of their webpage. We encourage you to discover Double H Ranch and donate to it as well, to help kids like Freyja experience the fun that can be had at summer camp!

Learn more about Freyja here.

Read about our other Magic Wheelchair builds here.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.