You know how stressful and frustrating it is during game nights, and you’re playing board games with friends or family, and the dice keep rolling all over the place. For perfectionists, it makes them cringe because they like things being in place. The dice rollover, mess with the game, and might even fly across the room, roll under the bed, and get eaten by your pet.
Sometimes, it might not even be about it rolling everywhere and you spilling drinks on it. It could be that while you throw the dice, it comes up with the same predictable results every time. You end up not trusting the game, or it looks rigged every time you play. It’s not so easy and enjoyable having to throw the dice with your hands all the time, and it messes up your game or comes up with the same outcomes. That is why we have dice towers.
Dice towers make it easy for you to throw your dice without them rolling all over the place or producing predictable results. It makes your game organized and interesting. All you just gotta do is throw the dice, no matter how many or big, into the tower, and it’ll roll out outside the tower and produce random results.
Dice towers can be big or small depending on the size of the dice or the number of dice you’re using to play the game. Some can be handmade using wood or can be printed in 3D.
A dice tower can take hours to make; therefore, 3D printing the perfect dice tower is going to take hours. So, how can you print a perfect dice tower in 3D?
Getting the perfect dice tower doesn’t happen on a whim. It takes planning and doing to get the perfect result. These steps will guide you on how to 3D print the perfect dice tower:
• Design the dice tower
• Prepare the printer
• Print the dice tower
Design The Dice Tower
The first thing to do is to design your dice tower. Although you can get already 3D designed templates online on sites like Thinkerverse, you may have a design of your own in your head since you want a perfect one.
Since printing in 3D is different from other printing formats like images or PDFs, there is a format your dice tower will be saved before it is sent to the printer. The most common format is STL, which is stereolithography, which has different backronyms like “Standard Triangle Language” and “Standard Tessellation Language,” and other formats include OBJ, 3MF, etc.
You can get these formats on Thinkerverse, or you can design your tower as well using some software. You can either use Tinkercad or 3D slash.
After designing your tower, you then export it on Tinkercad so as to make adjustments and put it in the right format fit for 3D printing. Tinkercad is good for you if you are a beginner.
Tinkercad isn’t as complex as 3D slash because it is easier to use. One of the problems with this is that you may not get your dice tower printed in your desired colors because Tinkercad has only plain colors.
You can go ahead if you want and try something like paint your dice tower anyway you want it. Tinkercad also has a minimal rendering option, so you may not be able to render high-resolution printing.
If you don’t want to paint your dice tower, then you should try 3D slash. You can print a high-resolution dice tower on a 3D slash. You only have to pay a few dollars. On 3D slash, you get to design your dice tower how you want.
This is more tasking than Tinkercad, and it takes a lot of time to design the perfect dice tower.
The kind of features you want your tower to have will determine whether you’ll stick to a free plan on 3D slash or you upgrade to a paid plan.
After you’re done designing either on Tinkercad or 3D slash, you then export your design into an STL file. A software called the slicer then converts your design into a language the 3D printer will understand.
The slicer slices the 3D model into flat layers that build on top of each other to produce the final object.
An example of slicing software is the Ultimaker Cura, and it has default settings you can use to print your 3D dice tower. You can also change these settings to your satisfaction.
After this, you then move on to the next thing, that is, preparing the printer.
Preparing the printer involves:
• Bed leveling
• Selecting the material
If you want to get the perfect print, the printer bed has to be properly leveled. Adjust the level of the bed so that it’s parallel with the plain the print extruder travel on so as to get the right distance the extruder will travel on and ensure that there is enough space to travel within and ensure that the filament sticks to the bed.
After this, you preheat the bed so as to get the temperature that you’ll print with. Then go to the printer settings and select the temperature you want the printer to print depending on the filament you want to use.
For PLA filament, you can set the bed temperature at 70° C, and for ABS filament, you can set the bed temperature at 120° C.
The extruder shouldn’t be too far from the bed or too close to the bed from all angles. All angles should be leveled. If the extruder is too far from the bed, there will be a gap between the bed and the first layer, and this won’t make the filament stick to the bed.
If the extruder is too close to the bed, there will be uneven edges around your dice tower.
To get the perfect measurement of your bed level, you can measure with a ruler and ensure that there is no light space underneath it.
Selecting the right material to print your dice tower with is important if you want to get the perfect outcome. You need to decide the type of filament you want to print with, whether PLA, ABS, or any other filament.
PLA or Polylactic acid is a thermoplastic polyester used for 3D printing. PLA is non-toxic and easy to use. You can easily get great 3D prints when you use this filament. PLA can easily degrade when exposed to moist or harsh conditions, just like iron will rust when moist touch it.
If you’re going to be using your dice tower indoor, it can last almost indefinitely.
ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a common thermoplastic used for 3D printing. Since ABS is a strong heat resistant filament, the printing setting should be different from that of the PLA filament. Ensure that the plastic isn’t overheated or underheated if you want to get the right outcome.
Another important thing is the base material placed on the printing bed. You can use glass or blue tape. If you’re using blue tape, you do not need to preheat the bed, but you can preheat the bed if you’re using glass.
If you’re using none and you’re printing directly on the bed, you ought to reheat the bed.
After deciding on the filament and base material to use, fill the printer up with the filament you want to use to 3D print your dice tower.
Ensure that the temperature which you’d be printing with is not too hot because it’ll melt the filament and it’s not too cold, so it doesn’t come out with many rough edges.
After designing your dice tower and preparing the machine and material, the next thing to do is to start printing your dice tower. Printing it can take as long as how big your dice tower is.
Getting the first layer right is important when 3D printing. If the first layer isn’t sticking to the printer bed, your dice tower might come out messy. Therefore if you want your first layer to come out well, make sure that:
• The print bed is level.
• The extruder is leveled with the bed on all angles so that they are not too far or too close to each other.
• You need to use a good base material for your filament to adhere to.
Other parts of your dice tower will form on the first layer that sticks on the print bed. Other layers form on the first layer till your dice tower is perfectly formed. Once the printing process is done, you have your perfect dice tower ready.
In case your dice tower doesn’t turn out well, you can improve your slicer settings, modify and improve your 3D printer and update it to the latest firmware. Your game nights and board games are about to get more interesting once you’re done printing your dice tower. You need not worry about your dice rolling all over and messing your game up.