Introduction: Easy to Make Large Funky Metal Dice (d6)

Picture of Easy to Make Large Funky Metal Dice (d6)

It was a dark and stormy night and the power was out. Not to be detered at our efforts at fun, we all hunkered down for an exciting game of Settlers by candlelight. Mighty was the cry of anguish when we realized the dreaded dice gremlins had struck earlier that day, taking our dice for their own nefarious reasons.

All hope was not lost. We made a small offering to the dice gods, then raided the hardware cabinet. A couple of threaded rod coupling nuts and a battery powered label maker later, we once again were rolling for sheep.

Step 1: Getting the Pile of Parts Together

Picture of Getting the Pile of Parts Together

This is a easy way to make some funky metal dice. Dice with presence and mass. It's different enough that people will notice when you whip these suckers out. They will hear the rolling thunks from across the room and come to see just what is going on.

It takes 20 minutes, and for each dice you need:

A threaded rod coupling nut - I used one for 5/8" rod. A coupling nut for 1/2" rod would work as well, I just wanted bigger. Check out your local decently equipped hardware store to find these guys - cost is around$1.50 to $2.50 each. Coupling nuts are your basic hexagon piece of metal and are 5 to 6 times longer than your standard hex nut, so it won't roll onto the end unless you really try at it.

A label maker - Small label makers have become popular and plentiful the last few years - you might have one in a closet somewhere. If you don't have a label maker, print or write out the numbers on a piece of paper and cover it over with some clear packing tape.

Some packing tape - this is the standard stuff that comes off a tape gun. Scotch tape would work but it's not as strong or sticky.

The coupling nut I used was a hair over 3/4" in diameter and a bit over 2" long. Hex diameters are usually measured flat side to flat side. It weighs in at 2.6oz, compared to a normal 16mm d6 dice at 0.1oz. Yes, it makes a distinct noise when it rolls.

This coupling nut came with some holes and cutouts in it. Probably to let water drain if it's left outside or something like that. I just took some packing tape and put it over the holes, then used a utility knife to trim it down so the edges where all on one "flat" side. Packing tape will give the label when you put it on a little extra support so it doesn't puncture.

Step 2: Clean Up the Nut and Start Printing Labels

Picture of Clean Up the Nut and Start Printing Labels

The nut might have a sticker on it with a barcode, size info, etc. Clean that off and scrub it down with soapy water so all you have left is bare metal.

If it has holes/divots/defects that you want to cover over, tear off a piece of packing tape, put it where it needs to be, then using a utility knife trim it down. I then rubbed over it hard with a clean cloth to have it be firmly set.

Fire up your label maker and print out 6 labels: one, two, three, four, five, six. If your label maker does symbols you could use the pip system and print out 1 to 6, oh, skull and crossbones for instance. At this point you are only limited by your imagination.

Peel the labels off, line them up as well as you can on the side of the coupling nut, and press down.
I lined the top of the label up with the top edge of the flat as well as I could. This left a little bit of the label sticking off the bottom edge of the flat. I just trimmed that off with a utility knife, eyeballing it all the way.
Once the label is down and the edges are all on that particular flat part, rub it down with a clean cloth to make sure it's firmly on.

When I printed my labels the edges where uneven in length, as "one" isn't as many letters as "three". I then when down the side edges with my utility knife, trying to line them up evenly. They are not perfect but close enough.

Upon reflection, I should have had the numbers arranged like in a normal d6. One and six on opposite sides, then two and five, then three and four. Next one I make will be like that.

If you don't have a label maker - do not despair! Simply measure out the height of the flats on the coupling nut and print out your basic one, two.... on your computer. You could hand write them on sticky notes. Cut them out of the paper so they are in strips, about 1/8" shorter than the flat of your coupling nut and at least 1/4" shorter than the length of the coupling nut.

Pull a piece of clear packing tape off the tape gun and put it down on the table sticky side up. Then take the piece of paper strip with one, two...., and place it on the packing tape, making sure at least 1/8" of sticky tape surrounds the entire paper strip. Pickup the tape, eyeball where it goes on the nut, and put it down as well as you can without creases or bubbles. Rub it down to give it a firm stick, then trim off the excess with a knife. It's All Good.

That's it - you are done! Make as many as you want, put on them whatever you want. Have fun and keep rollin'.

You can check out my website at for more ideas and my posts on puttering where I share all the dumb mistakes learned on the way to enlightenment.


kimberley.vaughan.7 (author)2015-07-09

That's fun. I like the way you think.

_soapy_ (author)2013-06-01

That 20 minutes includes writing the Instructible, right?

Great idea. I can see myself getting a rod connector out my pocket and writing the numbers on with marker pen or a scribe... :-)

_soapy_ (author)_soapy_2013-06-01

That's not a criticism of the Instructible, btw. I'm just pointing out that it takes perhaps 30 seconds to make one of these if you use a marker pen, leaving quarter of an hour to write it up.

I might try engraving some of these.

Derin (author)2008-07-01

nvm bought a $90 labelmaker for $30 off ebay(batteries included)

Derin (author)Derin2008-08-25

WHAT?COMMUNITY REQUEST!???I DELETED IT!I!I!I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tomtortoise (author)Derin2012-12-05

Removed by comment author request?

Derin (author)2008-07-09

v3ry nl(3 pr0j3(t dud3 w0w h4><0r 1anguag3

valleycrosser (author)Derin2010-06-13

Non geek translation, please.

"Very nice project dude wow hacker language."

That'll be 10 bucks.

Derin (author)valleycrosser2010-06-15

*beep beep beep* WHAT THE *explosion* *maniacal laughter*

chriskarr (author)Derin2008-12-30

0h /\/\Y 60d, /\/\4/\/, 7h47 15 50 I<1(I<-455! 600d j08! I<33P 1t 1337.

SandDevilJack (author)2009-08-11

The Vikings used dice like these--cast from precious and semi-precious metals or carved from bone, antler, or ivory. I guess great minds think alike. If you got couplers without the holes in the sides, you could add pips (dots) with a center punch. Very cool! Thanks for sharing.

red9987 (author)2007-07-04

I have wood for sheep!

sehrgut (author)red99872008-06-22

I'll trade you two sheep for three wood.

headphoned (author)sehrgut2008-07-06

That's a terrible trade!

footer0 (author)headphoned2008-08-15

DAH!, Ill trade you 10sheep for 10 wood, ill throw in a turnop too

zupperzipper (author)footer02009-03-27

Who needs wood?? Burn the sheep ! :D

footer0 (author)zupperzipper2009-03-28

Meant turnip. LEt me redo that sentence. DAH! I'll trade yeh 10 sheep for 10 wood, HAYL - I throwin' turnip tuh.

craniac (author)2007-06-12

Someone else on instructables has done this with brass pieces and etched the words in place. This is cool.

whamodyne (author)craniac2007-06-12

Yep, the same dude. Well, the cat helped a little in the brass one.

howboutitbru (author)craniac2007-06-12

its the same guy...

whamodyne (author)2007-05-31

the video hosting is via I'm still trying to figure out which one to use and think youtube's quality is low. These guys seemed to have a better quality, larger feed than most.

Myself (author)whamodyne2007-06-08

No reason you can't post it in more than one place. :)

Hugo.B (author)2007-05-31

Problem: I worked out at the tender age of 12 that I could throw the dice to my advantage, thus securing me continents in RISK!, and family bellicosity.
These dice look particularly easy cheat with.


chuckr44 (author)Hugo.B2007-06-01

I also worked out, around 1984, how to influence the outcome of a die roll, particularly on d20s. It worked best on higher numbered dice, like d20 and d12, but also worked on d8 and d6. This was not a loaded die, but I could use any die to my advantage.

austin (author)2007-05-31

you can buy this same thing but without the holes . I got some a while back that have just been sitting around. They sell them at lowes for ~88 cents

jstech (author)2007-05-31

The holes in the rod coupling might bias the outcome. You should roll it a couple hundred times and see if the number over the holes comes up more. (Since that face is less dense, the center of gravity would be shifted away from that number face, which would mean that having that number on top would be a lower-energy state than the number opposite it).

whamodyne (author)jstech2007-05-31

I agree - this is probably not a level dice. I wouldn't want to use it in a situation that I really cared about the outcome. It's mostly for fun and to make people sit up and take notice. Imagine the DM making the save roll behind a screen and the noise it would make.

tiuk (author)2007-05-31

Nice. As you said, putting 1/6. 2/5, and 3/4 on opposite faces would be ideal. Also, I wouldn't recommend dropping it on a game board (like monopoly), I imagine the weight would bounce pieces everywhere :)

ich bin ein pyro (author)2007-05-31

nice instructable and what kinda video hosting thing is that?

mrmath (author)2007-05-31

Nice, simple idea. I like it. One thing I would change, however. Traditionally, the opposite faces of a die total 7. That means you should put 1 and 6, 2 and 5, and 3 and 4 on opposite sides. Doesn't change the odds of rolling a particular number, but it's a nit that I had to pick. I also like the idea, btw, of using words instead of numbers. I have three kids under the age of 9, and this would help to reinforce the number as word idea.

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Bio: Named "Emblematic of the Instructables Universe" by the New York Times, I'm a maker and designer who enjoys looking at things sideways and playing ... More »
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