$10.00
Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
30 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Miscellaneous Game Accessory» Forums » Sessions

Subject: My Attempt In Building a Dice Tower rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: dicetower [+] diy [+] [View All]
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
So I decided about a month ago that I needed a dice tower. There really wasn't a reason for it. I just knew that if I had a dice tower I would use it. My wife and I were playing Memoir '44 on a semi-regular basis (that's one of the few games that we own that uses dice, and yes my wife is awesome for playing Memoir '44 with me) on the kitchen table and I knew that if I had a dice tower that it would get some use. I also knew that I was going to be getting a few wargames in the future so I wanted to make sure that I had a dice tower to manage the rolling of those dice accordingly. I was sick and tired of rolling dice and watching as my game was destroyed due to my lack of coordination.

I did a little looking around. Yep, there are some amazing dice tower construction and sales sites out there. But, you know, I'm cheap. I didn't want to spend $40-$100 (possibly more) on a product that I could build on my own for a tenth of the price -- I'd rather use the money for more games. I had the tools, so why shouldn't I use my moderate understanding of woodworking to my frugal advantage?

I looked around for a few days trying to find a dice tower plan that would suit my need. I was looking for something simple and cheap. I didn't want something that required anything out of my current tool set. I was extremely pleased when I found Lemur's dice tower plans. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=13307

These plans had everything that I wanted. They were simple (something that I require in a plan), they had multiple options in case I couldn't get the angles right I could go with something else, and they were free on The Geek. How could you go wrong?!?

So after finding the plans I decided then and there to make myself a dice tower.

I went to a mass market home improvement store (aka The Home Despot) on the weekend and bought myself some wood glue (I didn't have any on hand) and a couple of sheets of plywood. Total cost was around $13. $5 for each piece of plywood and $3 for the wood glue. I also went to Michael's (making my wife happy) to find sticker felt for the finishing touches. I bought five sheets for a dollar a piece. Total costs for the materials of this project? $18. I don't think I could find a dice tower anywhere for that price. Granted I'm not accounting for my time, but trust me, my time ain't worth much.

So I started by following the plans exactly. Well, as exactly as I was capable of.

I used the following tools when building my tower:

table saw;
bench;
scissors;
clamps; and
finishing nail gun (without a doubt the most expensive tool I own not to mention the air compressor needed to run it. This isn't needed, but since I have it I used it because it did make the process that much simpler).

I began by ripping two 3 1/2" pieces from the 2' x 2' plywood board. This was to account for the front, back and bumpers/baffles of the tower. From those two 3 1/2" pieces I chopped a 1 1/2", a 1 3/4" and a 3 1/8" pieces for the bumpers (and as per the suggestion of Lemur's plans I cut an angle off of each of the bumpers at 30 degrees) and a 5 1/4" piece for the front and a 7 1/4" piece for the back. You can see the start of it here (and please forgive the different image sizes, some are on my flickr site and others are bgg images):



After that I ripped a 3 5/8" piece for the sides of the tower. And I ripped two 1 3/4" pieces for the box. Keep in mind I had been very pleased to realize that one piece of plywood had been enough to get all the wood I needed for this project. Meaning that the total cost had been brought down to $13, which included the wood glue and five pieces of sticker felt.

I took the 1 3/4" pieces and chopped them so that I had two 8 3/4" pieces and two 4 5/8" pieces. This allowed me to make the box without a base, the box being where the dice would fall from the tower.

I then took the 3 5/8" piece of ripped wood and chopped it so that I had two 7 1/4" pieces for the sides of the tower. I wouldn't need those until the end, though.

It took a little work, because I was more than a little rusty with my woodworking, to finally get the bumpers attached to the front and the back. However, I was eventually able to.

I started with the 3 1/8" piece and made as sure as I could that it would sit so the bottom of the bumper would be touching the receiving box at the bottom of the tower. I put some glue on it and then used the finishing nail gun to pop that sucker in. (It doesn't hurt that my wife is as addicted to HGTV as I am to board games. They use a finishing gun to solve 99.99% of their problems.) The other two bumpers went in quite easily after that with the 1 1/2" piece joining the 3 1/8" piece on the back of the tower and the 1 3/4" piece being attached to the front of the tower. The 1 1/2" piece was attached 1 5/8" from the top of the back piece and the 3 1/8" piece was attached 1 5/8" from the bottom of the back piece. The 1 3/4" piece was attached 3 5/8" from the top of the front piece.

I also put together the box after getting the bumpers attached to the front and back of the tower. You can see the midgame here:



I made sure at this point that I hadn't made a mess of everything and test drove the tower by putting it all together without gluing or nailing anything else:



At this point I was confident that I would have a functioning dice tower by the end of the day.

I proceeded by deconstructing the tower (it wasn't hard since nothing had been connected with the exception of the bumpers and the box) and started attaching the felt to the bumpers:





Once that was done I finished up the tower by attaching the 3 5/8" wide sides to the front and back. Then I used the some of the left over from the 2' x 2' as the base of the box. Lemur's plans suggests using 1/8" panelling or masonite. I didn't mind using the plywood at all. But before attaching the base of the box to the sides I added the sticker felt. (I was using the felt to help muffle the sound of the dice bouncing off the plywood -- in case that wasn't clear.) Then I put the box together and tested the tower in it again:







And you can see that the plans allow for a exceptionally elegant way to store your tower:



But like I said, I'm a little "challenged" when it comes to fine woodworking. Looking at my "finished" product I sort of felt like I had created another battle box:



It had nothing to do with the excellence of the plans and simply because I was lazy and I wasn't as precise as I could have been. So what did I do? My wife suggested that I use some more of my sticker felt and cover the tower with. I did that creating The Mean, Green, Dice Tower Machine!!!





The dice tower has gotten a good deal of use already and I couldn't be more pleased with the way it turned out. My wife initially thought the idea was silly but even she has become a dice tower advocate. Sure, I could have been more precise and done more with finishing work, but since this took me only about two and half hours to put together I have zero complaints. If I make another one I know that it will be that much better and the one after that will be better than that. And I can't complain about the cost. If you don't factor in the wood glue the project cost approximately $10 and even if you do include the wood glue, we're talking $13. Of course I'm not including the cost of the tools, but I didn't buy the tools to build the tower, so I don't feel bad not including it in the budget. So if you have the tools there's no need to drool over your gaming friend's tower any more. Just make your own! cool

While I may be the only person who wanted to do something like this, I suspect that there are others out there that would like to do the same so I figured putting together this "session" report would be helpful.

You can find more photos of the project at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pointsplace/sets/72057594124885... , and please feel free to fire off questions if you have any regarding this project. And again, to find Lemur's plans look at the file here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=13307
8 
 Thumb up
4.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Fiscus
United States
Maricopa
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: My Attempt In Build a Dice Tower
An exceptional tale, sir. Thank you for taking the time to share your finished product in pictures. Me = Jealous

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Re: My Attempt In Build a Dice Tower
HuckmanT wrote:
An exceptional tale, sir. Thank you for taking the time to share your finished product in pictures. Me = Jealous


Very glad you enjoyed the report, HuckmanT. But why the jealousy? Do you not have the tools available to build a tower yourself? I suspect that it could even be done with a skill saw if need be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
mbmbmbmbmb
I saw Dice Towers done with Lego blocks that look like a Castle. How do they get the slanted boards on the inside of the castle. In the wooden DT I guess they are nailed and or glued? I am not that handy woodworking but I would like to try the Lego route. My late Father-in-law could have wipped one out with no problem.shake
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
sherron wrote:
I saw Dice Towers done with Lego blocks that look like a Castle. How do they get the slanted boards on the inside of the castle. In the wooden DT I guess they are nailed and or glued? I am not that handy woodworking but I would like to try the Lego route. My late Father-in-law could have wipped one out with no problem.shake


The slanted boards, I call them bumpers (Lemur calls them baffles), are both nailed and glued in mine. If I had wanted to do it better I would have used a router, but I don't own one. I would have routed the locations that I wanted to place the bumpers at an angle and then inserted the bumper into them that way. That said, gluing the bumpers to the board you want to fasten them to worked really well for me as well. But with the routed boards it would have been a touch easier to get the bumpers in place. But, like I said, that may be a wish list, but I have no complaints.

I have no idea about the lego. I've always wondered that too.
 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
mbmbmbmbmb
I can only guess they must have a triangle of some material and one was glued on one at a time. My friend at work showed me how well Gorrila Glue woked by gluing two glass stones together. I had a towel handle that kept falling off. I thought at first the bumpers were Lego too but I don't see how they could be now.laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ollie Read
United Kingdom
Portsmouth
Hampshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I made a lego dice tower and used technic bricks with holes in to make the slants. They just rest at about 45 degrees. I used the castle wall pieces so it looks nice but the dice can occasionally get stuck in the odd shaped bits.

I think I might make a Mark II this weekend but just using standard bricks. I love the purity of using plain old bricks. You just need to make sure that there's nowhere inside that the dice can get stuck. I don't think it would work very well for tiny wargame dice but it'll be fine for nice big ones. I bought 1800 standard bricks yesterday and I'm tempted to get more.

Then I might start work on some more imaginative ideas for rolling dice with lego. How about a conveyor belt system so you don't actually have to pick up the dice or is this taking it too far? You've got to admit it'd be impressive!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Pariah
United States
Ronkonkoma
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Way cool!

I especially enjoy the fact that you covered the whole thing in green! I think that's hilarious!

Before anyone gets the impression that I'm this gaming Bob Vila, though, I DO have to be honest and say:

1) I've never built anything
2) I'd have a hard time telling a hammer apart from a screwdriver (ok, that may be a little bit embellished).

These plans are courtesy of my 80+ year old uncle, previously an architect, whom I simply showed a sample dice tower to (not even a 3D model, just printed something off the Internet) - and he drew the plans and built one for me (albeit, not covered in green).

I had actually asked him to build 3! - but, he felt there was no challenge, and he was bored after building one. At any rate, I definitely thought the plans were professional enough that others could use them (which is clear - and an OUTSTANDING job with photos, etc...really top-notch!), so I uploaded them.

I will pass along your comments to him; I'm sure he'll get a small kick of it!

Chris
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
sherron wrote:
I can only guess they must have a triangle of some material and one was glued on one at a time. My friend at work showed me how well Gorrila Glue woked by gluing two glass stones together. I had a towel handle that kept falling off. I thought at first the bumpers were Lego too but I don't see how they could be now.laugh


Look like Ollie Read has our answer for us! cool

Technic bricks that hang at 45 degrees. Who would have thought. All this time I figured people who made lego dice towers just threw the dice in there really hard.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
monkian wrote:
I made a lego dice tower and used technic bricks with holes in to make the slants. They just rest at about 45 degrees. I used the castle wall pieces so it looks nice but the dice can occasionally get stuck in the odd shaped bits.

I think I might make a Mark II this weekend but just using standard bricks. I love the purity of using plain old bricks. You just need to make sure that there's nowhere inside that the dice can get stuck. I don't think it would work very well for tiny wargame dice but it'll be fine for nice big ones. I bought 1800 standard bricks yesterday and I'm tempted to get more.

Then I might start work on some more imaginative ideas for rolling dice with lego. How about a conveyor belt system so you don't actually have to pick up the dice or is this taking it too far? You've got to admit it'd be impressive!


If you do any of those dice towers I want to know!!! The conveyor belt one would be especially excellent.

The next thing you know you'll build robot slaves to roll dice for you and then one day during a calm game of Twilight Imperium they will revolt and attack! wow
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Lemur wrote:
Way cool!

I especially enjoy the fact that you covered the whole thing in green! I think that's hilarious!

Before anyone gets the impression that I'm this gaming Bob Vila, though, I DO have to be honest and say:

1) I've never built anything
2) I'd have a hard time telling a hammer apart from a screwdriver (ok, that may be a little bit embellished).

These plans are courtesy of my 80+ year old uncle, previously an architect, whom I simply showed a sample dice tower to (not even a 3D model, just printed something off the Internet) - and he drew the plans and built one for me (albeit, not covered in green).

I had actually asked him to build 3! - but, he felt there was no challenge, and he was bored after building one. At any rate, I definitely thought the plans were professional enough that others could use them (which is clear - and an OUTSTANDING job with photos, etc...really top-notch!), so I uploaded them.

I will pass along your comments to him; I'm sure he'll get a small kick of it!

Chris


Chris, please thank your Uncle for me!

I thought the plans were fantastic, and I really appreciate the compliments. I agree, the green felt really makes it distinctive. laugh There's little likelihood someone will wander off with it thinking that it was theirs. Of course they may want to steal it.

I'd love to hear what your Uncle thinks of the end result.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ollie Read
United Kingdom
Portsmouth
Hampshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
morihei wrote:
The next thing you know you'll build robot slaves to roll dice for you and then one day during a calm game of Twilight Imperium they will revolt and attack! wow

Don't remind me. I built an army of lego robots years ago and it got a bit out of hand. They even made a film about it. I think it was called The Terminator.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
monkian wrote:
Don't remind me. I built an army of lego robots years ago and it got a bit out of hand. They even made a film about it. I think it was called The Terminator.


Holy cow! Your need to roll dice ended up leading to a war against man and machine!!!

The next thing you know we'll be turned into batteries and made to believe that dice towers are real, but are in fact just an imaginary construct.

That would explain why the guy in the suit and sunglasses always kicks my butt in Robo Rally. cool
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Johnson
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
sherron wrote:
I saw Dice Towers done with Lego blocks that look like a Castle. How do they get the slanted boards on the inside of the castle.

Some Lego sets include roof pieces. The top surfaces of those are slanted at about 45 degrees. So, it just takes some internal extensions to put those on.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Petrie
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Argus Panoptes wrote:
Some Lego sets include roof pieces. The top surfaces of those are slanted at about 45 degrees. So, it just takes some internal extensions to put those on.


And that shows my lack of knowledge of Lego. Or is it Legos? I never know.

But thanks for clearing that up for me, Daniel!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Naperville
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
morihei wrote:

But like I said, I'm a little "challenged" when it comes to fine woodworking. Looking at my "finished" product I sort of felt like I had created another battle box:





I'll have you know that my tower is made out of very durable pepsi cardboard!!!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Kindt
United States
San Antonio
TX
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent article! I'm in the process of building my tower, using plans I will post as soon as I'm happy with the finished product.

The baffles (or ramps, shelves... whatever you want to call them) are the trickiest part and what has slowed my design the most. I went with a slightly bigger tower with one more internal baffle than you have. I used 1/4" poplar wood from Home Depot for the baffles. Because this wood is so thin, I was afraid I would have safety and/or splitting problems if I used nails to fasten the baffles to the tower.

This was the start of complications, as glue alone did not provide sufficient strength to hold the baffles in place. I ended up first trying a Dremel to cut slots in the tower walls. Now, the Dremel is a fine tool for detail work, but its not a router. I had a hard time cutting straight, consisent slots using the Dremel, and so I eventually went back to the drawing board.

What I finally did was get a full-sized router with a template-following disk and cut myself a plywood template to overlay onto the tower. Using this, I used a 1/4" straight bit to cut the slots in the sides of the tower. A heck of a lot of work! Right now I'm at the finishing and assembly stage, so the verdict is still out. Pictures and recap will follow once I'm satisfied and am successfully rolling dice.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Reeves
United States
Georgetown
TX
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Ohhhh, you need to look at the Dremel site or catalog and buy more goodies. Dremel has a plunge router attachment!

http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/atta...

Great Inspiration to build my own dice tower!

Here's a funny short story about dice towers. I thought a dice tower was Tom Vasel's Dice Tower podcast! I've been board/wargaming for 30 years (since I was 14) and never, ever heard of a dice tower until recently. Now that I'm a bit more "edgeecated", I want one badly but also rather save my $$$ for games. I'm tired of using the game box lid as it takes up too much table space and scuffs the box.

Thanks for the great article!
 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
xx xxx
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
A prototype for a not so much better idea that I am working on...

Wrappign paper tube It actualy got pretty ridgid once glued together... I put a lead weight in the bottom to keep it from shaking all over the place as the dice fell through it... no bottom on the stop tray so I can get them out easier... (just pick up the tower and grab the dice).

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
john m
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
zman44 wrote:
morihei wrote:

But like I said, I'm a little "challenged" when it comes to fine woodworking. Looking at my "finished" product I sort of felt like I had created another battle box:





I'll have you know that my tower is made out of very durable pepsi cardboard!!!


I love the Battle Box.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Lawson
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've had the printouts of the dice tower plans staring me in the face whenever I'd go into my home office, and yesterday I finally decided to go and build the darn thing.

The plans were well laid out, and the dice tower came together fairly well. In fact, the only drawback was that I'd not switched the blade on the circular saw for crosscutting the birch plywood, so the cuts weren't the cleanest.

Kudos for starting the thread, because it inspired me to build one myself.

(I'd post a picture, but I don't have a digital camera.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Kreft
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
So I have a question for you all... How much would you pay for a dice tower?

Nothing too fancy. Well put togther and painted either single or dual color.

I'm trying to think of ways to finance my way to Origins this year. I was thinking I could set up a booth and sell a few.

Do you think say $25 or 30 bux would be too much?

I was thinking, red, battleship grey and black as my colors.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marc Pavone
United States
Saugerties
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I may whip one of these up myself, but I'll use staggered rungs made from dowels instead of steps. Now, where's my foamcore board...?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Robinson
United States
Neptune City
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I made a smaller version for use with the smaller sized dice. I just used some basic corner trim as the steps with thin 3" wide trim for the tower and 1" sides for the bottom. It's roughly 6 1/2" tall and 6" long and the tower is roughly 2 1/2" by 3" the wood is thin 1/8" thick. I made this with scraps I had and it came out pretty good so now I'll get some thicker wood and make it a little bigger and most likely theme it. I also used 4 steps which 3 seems more practical, the dice should really drop to assure randomness, too many steps close together and the dice just seem to slide rather then tumble especially if you use felt to make it a little quieter. The towers look pretty cool, especially if your creative. I've seen some cool castles and Dragons with wings and some where the dice slide along an outside ramp with clear plexi. I like Sherlock Holmes, I would like to do a Themed tower as 221b Baker street with some street lamps with led's and have the baker street irregulars hanging around and most likely load the dice through the chimney. A haunted House theme would work well too. The only one I seen in the stores was the "dice boot" but it's all clear plastic and seems like it will be pretty loud. I also have never seen it restocked. I also sometimes just use a small dipping or sauce dish 1" x 3" that you can cup with one hand give it a shake and check the result.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Kreft
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
Geoff

A few sugestions for you. For material you can use 1/4 MDF commonly avalable at Lowes/Home Depot they also sell small project wood in Red Oak and Poplar in sizes that need only slight cuts to make them perfect for dice towers.

Set your Table Saw at a 45 degree angle and cut the boards that way. They fit together nicely and make the project look more professional.

Gorilla Glue alone will hold them together just fine.

I'll post a few pix of mine later today.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.