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Subject: 3D Printers rss

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David J. Mortimer
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Has anyone explored the possibility of using 3D printers for making custom dice? Is this at all viable? I have very little knowledge on this subject.

I have designed a game that requires 24 custom dice in 3 configurations and a few cardboard tokens. I am considering self publishing or kick starter and wondered if this is a path worth exploring.

Moulded dice are certainly very expensive for smaller runs and the laser etched dice I recently commissioned whilst perfectly satisfactory and reasonably priced for prototype sized runs weren't quite the quality I would desire for publishing.

Thanks for any input.
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Doc Hogan
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(most) hobbyist level 3D printers leave pretty rough results, and definitely without the resolution to leave pips/symbols with acceptable quality. Also, most use a relatively soft PVC or vinyl which I doubt would 'feel' right for dice.

If you need to home-brew your prototype, you might want to look into order blank dice from Chessex or someone similar, and using stickers. For more advanced self-made dice, look into having blank dice laser etched; there are a few BGG users with laser cutters that you could talk to about it.
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Laura Creighton
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Apparantly lots of people are doing it.
http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/864-Over-2000-3D-Prin...

Whether using Shapeways is any cheaper than what you have already investigated, I have no idea...
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Doc Hogan
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lacreighton wrote:
Apparantly lots of people are dong it.
http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/864-Over-2000-3D-Prin...

Whether using Shapeways is any cheaper than what you have already investigated, I have no idea...


Just note that Shapeways is unlikely to be using hobbyist-level printers
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David J. Mortimer
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Thank you both for your comments. I will look into shapeways. Appreciate many home brew solutions may be rough.

I was looking for a cheap solution so I could have a low funded level on ks with a stretch target where the dice become moulded.

Laser etched is probably the solution and I just need to plan the icons better. One of my icons looks excellent on the dice. The other two came out a little clumsy when etched.
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Laura Creighton
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The other thing that I know some people did was to go to techshop
http://www.techshop.ws/
(They went to the one in Menlo Park), take a short course in 3D printing, and use the machine there. They weren't making a game, but it worked out a lot cheaper for them to make a prototype of what they wanted to machine there, even counting the cost of a flight for 2 people from Oslo, and 3 weeks stay in california hotels. But they had a lot of work to do. This was also a few years ago. At any rate, the tech shop people were able to tell them roughly how much it would cost, before they decided to do this, so it couldn't hurt to ask.
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Doc Hogan
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lacreighton wrote:
The other thing that I know some people did was to go to techshop
http://www.techshop.ws/
(They went to the one in Menlo Park), take a short course in 3D printing, and use the machine there. They weren't making a game, but it worked out a lot cheaper for them to make a prototype of what they wanted to machine there, even counting the cost of a flight for 2 people from Oslo, and 3 weeks stay in california hotels. But they had a lot of work to do. This was also a few years ago. At any rate, the tech shop people were able to tell them roughly how much it would cost, before they decided to do this, so it couldn't hurt to ask.
Techshop also has very nice laser cutters
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Jake Staines
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morti wrote:

I was looking for a cheap solution so I could have a low funded level on ks with a stretch target where the dice become moulded.


Speaking of moulding - depending on your backer numbers you could also consider resin casting, which can be done relatively inexpensively at home with little hassle. Then you only need one prototype per die type (which you could have printed for you at Shapeways, or carve an existing die yourself, or whatever). You could sprue up 6 dice at a time to make casting quicker and reduce wastage, then after they're cast carefully trim off the sprue and sand down the entry points with really fine sandpaper to get a shiny clean surface. Resin can be packed with pigment powders if you want dice in different colours.

This would take a bit of time, of course, so whether it's feasible depends a lot on how many you're going to need!
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James Read
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lacreighton wrote:
The other thing that I know some people did was to go to techshop
http://www.techshop.ws/
(They went to the one in Menlo Park), take a short course in 3D printing, and use the machine there. They weren't making a game, but it worked out a lot cheaper for them to make a prototype of what they wanted to machine there, even counting the cost of a flight for 2 people from Oslo, and 3 weeks stay in california hotels. But they had a lot of work to do. This was also a few years ago. At any rate, the tech shop people were able to tell them roughly how much it would cost, before they decided to do this, so it couldn't hurt to ask.


Dave - do let me know if you need a second person for the 3 week trip to California to make dice
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David J. Mortimer
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certain death wrote:
lacreighton wrote:
The other thing that I know some people did was to go to techshop
http://www.techshop.ws/
(They went to the one in Menlo Park), take a short course in 3D printing, and use the machine there. They weren't making a game, but it worked out a lot cheaper for them to make a prototype of what they wanted to machine there, even counting the cost of a flight for 2 people from Oslo, and 3 weeks stay in california hotels. But they had a lot of work to do. This was also a few years ago. At any rate, the tech shop people were able to tell them roughly how much it would cost, before they decided to do this, so it couldn't hurt to ask.


Dave - do let me know if you need a second person for the 3 week trip to California to make dice


It will depend on your feedback report after play testing with Emma

I quite like the look of the Oslo option too
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John "Omega" Williams
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You could allways get ahold of the people that do Dragon Dice and see if they have suggestions or pointers on factories and costs.

Also a simmilar discussion recently pointed out to me that the Thing-o-Matic had in the last year been further refined. Seems the latest model can do alot better tooling with less flaws.
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Scott Everts
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I wouldn't recommend Shapeways unless you use Ultra Detail level. I tried the mid range quality level and the models were so rough, the artist I hired to paint them couldn't finish the job. And Ultra Detail is quite expensive.
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David J. Mortimer
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Omega2064 wrote:
You could allways get ahold of the people that do Dragon Dice and see if they have suggestions or pointers on factories and costs.

Also a simmilar discussion recently pointed out to me that the Thing-o-Matic had in the last year been further refined. Seems the latest model can do alot better tooling with less flaws.


Hi John, Yes I will seek quotes for moulded dice from several sources but this will probably be for one of the higher funding levels. I am particularly looking for a solution to give me a low initial funding level.

However if you or anyone else has some experiences to share on moulded dice suppliers (relative price v quality and lead times) that would also be helpful.

Dragon Dice added to the list.

Thanks!
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John "Omega" Williams
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If it is a small print run then pretty much its not going to be had for any viable cheap price. The big problem is the mold. Its going to set you back no matter. And getting a good tooling of Dragon Dice quality will cost the extra.

Another company to talk to are the people doing Pirate Dice: Voyage on the Rolling Seas. This started as a PNP sticker dice game and was picked up for publication with etched wooden dice.

Also get ahold of Stronghold Games and see what it took to produce the custom dice for Survive: Escape from Atlantis!.

Alternatives:

Printed/Painted custom dice: These can be sometimes had for cheaper and do not need a special mold to press.

Stickered custom dice: The last alternative. But stickered dice can end up looking very nice indeed.
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Meaker VI
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I'd avoid 3d printing for a finished product - they're called "Rapid Protoypers" for a reason. Stickers or laser engraved are the way to go for short runs; if you're having a problem with your icons talk to a laser owner, like
Bradley Eng-Kohn
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about how to design them so they work well and look good.
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David J. Mortimer
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Meaker VI wrote:
I'd avoid 3d printing for a finished product - they're called "Rapid Protoypers" for a reason. Stickers or laser engraved are the way to go for short runs; if you're having a problem with your icons talk to a laser owner, like
Bradley Eng-Kohn
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about how to design them so they work well and look good.


Cheers thanks for the advice.
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John "Omega" Williams
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These are also the same answers you'd get if the question had been for miniatures.

3D printing just is not yet viable for this and still isnt cheap unless you know someone willing to print them off for you, and those plastics spools cost too.

Going standard mold is also a problem at the small scale. You just cannot get these pressed cheap and still get quality. And even cheap is going to set you back probably at least 1000$ or more just for one mold.
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