Hello, and welcome. I hope that you find this tutorial helpful as I worked on this, with various steps added on as I went. I have also included the STL file of the final design, if you would like to print one yourself. All I ask is that if you do print it yourself, or share these designs to credit back to me with this tutorial. Otherwise, enjoy :)
the above image is the inspiration, my muse as it were, for this project. not mine in the least.
Final update: Thank you to all that voted, I won Runner-Up for the 2016 3D printing contest (pictured above).
Step 1: Technical Info
so I am going to build the design completely from scratch, and it'll be my first time doing so, so do please bear with me. I am was using sketchup for the rendering and editing of the entire project. However I have changed that to Autodesk's 123D Design. Turns out that Sketchup will not export to the required .stl file format, so DO NOT use sketchup for 3D rendering for 3D printing. The attatched picture is for designing the gears for the face decorations. Also helpful, 123D Design has some basic gear designs preloaded that i can just snap into place, probally saving several days of work :)
Step 2: The Core of a Die
so last night I went ahead and made the basic cube that is the foundation of a standard D6, as well as begining the "piping" that makes up the more unique edging of this die. Attatched is a screenshot from the software. For ease of viewing i did false color the cube orange, and the "piping" is currently the standard white. However, as one can see, I now have the more challenging aspect of adding the horizontal "pipes", as well as then smothing out the connections after that. I'll try to keep everyone updated as progress with this.
UPDATE: I have followed the advice of annieblocks, and I changed from using Google Sketchup to using Autodesk's 123D Design. As such, I have now included a screenshot(the blue one) of the current cube as it is. the core is 100mm L,W&H. each cylender that will become the pipes are 5mm in diameter, and 20mm in length, all centered on their appropriate edge.
Step 3: The Edges
As part of the design, the edges are supposed to look like copper pipes. As such, I inserted various cylinders along the edges to create that illusion, as well as the illusion of 3-way corner connectors. As you can see, the corners themselves are not done as of yet. However the edges are done, as you can see in the third picture.
Basic instructions of how I was able to create this illusion:
Main pipes 5mm radius, 20 long. Centered on each edge, 1/4 each in cube itself. Make cylinders 7mm radius, 10mm long, center on end of each existing rod. Extend 30mm to each corner, letting them overlap. Reduce length of each by 20 mm, separating from thinner rod. Extend end of each thinner rod by 20mm to fill the gap that was created, finishing the edging.
Towards the end I realized I was over complicating it, and so I inserted the 7mm radius rods 40mm long, still centered on 5mm rods, letting overlap. I would then reduce the length of the 7mm rods by 20mm, and extend the 5mm rods so there wouldn't be any gaps, giving the illusion of pipes going into the fittings, with decent proportions.
Rounding out the corners will be the next step, as it is a bit more complicated, and to me, merits it's own step, albeit a small one.
Step 4: The Corners
This set of pictures illustrates how I made the rounded corners
1. Start with corner you are working on (fore corner, first picture).
2. Extend ONE of the 7mm rods 7mm so its edge lies flush with the sides of the other 7mm rods (second picture).
3. Using the "fillet" command, I clicked on the very end of the newly extended rod, and had it fillet 6.5, rounding it out (third picture).
The final picture in this set shows how the die looks with all 8 corners rounded out.
Step 5: Pattern for the Gears
While this isn't a step per see, it is useful to know where to place everything at, so I included this picture as what I am using as my guide to how many gears to put on each side, with the "1" being at the "top" for orientation, and the "5" on the "left." It is also pertinent to note that on D6 dice, opposite sides must equal 7.
Step 6: The Sides
Being the most detailed portion of the entire die, and the uniqueness of it, the sides took the longest to complete. This was a whole new learning curve for me, having to figure out how to add these various shapes onto the cube core, position them all freehand, scale, and on occasion to rotate the individual gears. most pronounced with the rotation would be side "4", side "2" was the most obvious choice for me to play with scaling. The final side that I did complete was "6", but it went surprisingly easily. I was able to insert a single gear, then copy and paste, moving it down. Pasting another copy of the gear, I placed it between to make it into a curved shape. Thankfully I was able to also multi-select that set of 3 gears, and mirror it over. However it still didn't look quite right, so some more finessing to achieve the final result, pictured. It ended up being as simple as rotating each gear so all of the teeth would line up properly.
Step 7: The Print
So I was able to stop by my library to print it. I did take a couple pictures while it was printing, as well as the final copy. However it was a centimeter, and the details did not show up properly, as you can see with the extremely poor picture. So I had them reprint it, but bump it up to 25mm, aka 1 in. Thats the final picture, and as you can see, turned out far better. So thats how I was able to design and print my gear face, pipe edged steampunk style D6 die. Optional painting is always there, but I haven't done that as of yet. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I am sorry for the wait for those that had been following this particular project.
Step 8: Done
just had to use an Xacto knife to trim off the excess inital support bed, but it finished beautifully. Hope you enjoyed my instructable.