Introduction: 3D Printed Dice
Who doesn't love a good game? If you've spent any time on Instructables, you've probably noticed there are lots of people making their own games. Here's your chance to start with the most basic of game pieces- dice.
One nearly universal element of gaming is chance. Whether it's a deck of cards, a bumper of a pin-ball machine, or a pair of dice, randomness is how we test our skills at coping with unpredictable circumstance! In this project, you will create a numbered die using pre-existing shapes. Your game, your rules, your chance to learn how to quickly and easily add an element of chance to your own game!
You can follow along with this lesson by opening the Numbered Die project for a step-by-step guide in the TinkerCAD interface.
Step 1: Tinkercad
In this class, we'll be using TinkerCAD for all the 3D design work. It's free and browser based, so you can use it on any computer or tablet. It's an easy, fun, intuitive 3D modeling program that's great for designing objects for 3D printing.
Before you go any further, you should sign up (for free) for a TinkerCAD account. It just takes a minute or two.
Follow this link to the TinkerCAD page, then click on Sign Up if you don't already have a TinkerCAD account.
Then all you have to do is enter the country you live in and your date of birth, then move on to the next page to enter an email and password or sign up automatically through Facebook, and that's it! You're ready to start designing.
Now that you have an account, take a minute to look around the interface. The Gallery tab is a great place to start- you can browse other users' designs and get a taste for all the awesome things you can create.
Step 2: Rounded Cube
A die may look like a cube, but if you want it to roll well, you'll need to make sure the corners are rounded.
It's possible to round the corners on a cube in TinkerCAD, but there's a pre-made dice-shape in the shapes menu.
Click on the Basic Shapes tab in the menu on the right to show the Symbols drop-down menu.
Now, drag the dice shape to the workplane.
Step 3: Creating the Numbers
We'll need numbers for each of the die's 6 faces, so let's get them onto the workplane.
Click on the Text menu and drag the numbers one through six onto the workplane.
Step 4: Turning the Numbers Into Holes
Though the numbers will fit within the faces of the die, they are much too tall. We need to resize them so they fit properly.
After we resize the numbers, we will need to cut the numbers out of the die so they can be seen in the sides of the die. When you drag the numbers onto the workplane, they're automatically 4mm tall. If you cut these out of the die they'll be too deep.
Select all the numbers, then drag the Z axis scaling handle down until all of the shapes are 2mm tall.
In the Inspector window, click the Hole button.
Step 5: Creating Side One of Your Die
Now we just need to combine the numbers with the sides. Before we can do that, we need to reorient the number so it is readable from the face we'll be aligning it to.
Select the first number, then click and drag the rotate icon to rotate it around the X axis so that the number is facing up.
Step 6: Aligning the Number
Now we're going to use Tinkercad's Align tool to align the number shape to its face. Select both the number one and the die and click Align from the adjust menu. Click the die again to keep it from moving when you align the two parts.
Next, click on the die shape- this will keep the die in place while you align the number.
Click the center handles along both the X and Z axes, and the lower limit along the Y axis.
Step 7: Completing Side 2
As you might have guessed, adding the rest of the sides follows exactly the same process as the previous step. Let's get it done!
Rotate the number two shape 90° around its X and and Z axes.
Select both the number two and the die and click Align from the adjust menu. Click the die again to keep it from moving when you align the two parts. Click the center handles along both the Y and Z axes, and the lower limit along the X axis.
Where should the numbers be placed?
Step 8: Completing Side 3
Just to make sure you know what you're doing, we are going to practice a bit more. We are going to show you how to do one more side and then you are on your own to create the remaining three.
Select both the number three and the die and click Align from the adjust menu. Click the die again to keep it from moving when you align the two parts.
Click the center handles along both the X and Y axes, and the upper limit along the Z axis.
Group the number three shape and the die.
Step 9: Finishing the Die
Now that you're an expert, it's up to you to complete the remaining three sides of your die. To do this, you'll just need to rotate each number so that it will be facing the right way, then use the align tool to get the number centered on the correct face of the die.
Rotate the number so that it is parallel to the face, then use the align tool just like before to get the 5 and 6 into the proper place.
You'll have to align the 6 from the under side.
Finally, select all the parts and click Group to cut the numbers out of the die shape. This is a bit different from the instructions in the Learn tab on TinkerCAD because we're only grouping once at the end instead of making a new group every time we move a number, but you'll get the same result either way.
Step 10: You're Done!