Introduction: 3D Printed Ludo Set With Box and Dice Tower

About: Just an ordinary person who loves #thinking and #tinkering

Coronavirus pandemic forces us to #StayAtHome and #WorkFromHome for several months now and months to go. Let us pray together to get over this pandemic soon. It is my job to kill the boredom of my kids for staying at home. Today's simple cure is online gaming, but we -- parents -- should keep them active, happy and healthy while online gaming generate almost no movement to the body but fingers, and long term gaming can cause back-pain and eyes' health.

I prefer to introduce traditional game such as Ludo -- a legendary board game. They might have known the modern Ludo King but playing it traditionally brings another excitement to the family members. Involving strategy to choose which piece to run to get home safely with dice-rolling luck, it can arise happiness and anger, then it is our job to describe few strategies and how they should handle anger. It is just a game anyway.

#StayAtHome means we don't go to toy stores to get the board game. Instead, we draw -- or print it for instant. Since the father (that is me) needed something to do at home, he designed simple 3D token to play while the kids were building a dice tower with a box from instructables.

Note :
Always keep an eye on kids when they make their own dice tower because scissors and/or cutter are involved in the process.

The game for the father continued with designing a dice, a box and collapsible dice tower which you can now simply download and print with a 3D printer at home.

Step 1: Files to Print

In case you just want to Print-And-Play, you don't need to continue to next section. Here you get all the files and printing instructions because you don't need a manual book for this (simple) project.

Print settings -- There is no crucial print settings needed for all this items but here are mine :

Layer Height : 0.2 mm
Infill       : 20%
Speed        : 50 mm/s
Support      : No

Print position and parts' name:

Step 2: The Board

Print this transparent .png file on a blank paper. The black color on the image is not really black but transparent.

Alternatively, you can download and print any Ludo board images on Google Images.

Also a good activity to hold a competition for family members to design their own Ludo boards.

Step 3: Token

I used to call it a "piece" referring to the pieces we move on the board. Later on Wikipedia I read the term "token". Why they called it "token" must because in the old days the moving pieces were coin-shape.

I printed a coin-shape token, simply a cylinder with desired height. Then I found out that it was hard to move because the board is printed on A4 paper and the square is approximately 10 by 10 mm. Then I drew a tower-shape token which is simply made of a cone and a sphere on top.

I use FreeCAD to design 3D models. It is a complete open-source parametric 3D modeler application developed by the community. You can use any application you are familiar with. Currently I am trying Fusion 360 but it takes time to learn and get used to it. For a starting you can try the very simple interface even for kids -- Tinkercad.

In this instructables, I am not detailing how to use FreeCAD to design but I want to draw the very simple basic of 3D. When you see an advertisement of a 3D modeler app, you will "wow" the super complicated mechanical 3D design like the machine or the body of a super car. When you give it a try, you will think "3D modeling is the job of an expert and that is not me." Just like what I thought years ago. "axis", "plane", "body", "mesh", "shell", just forget about all the terms in the beginning.

In FreeCAD, let's get started with the module called "Part" (not "Part Design"). I started there and I imagine a model combined with basic shapes provided by every 3D app namely Cube, Cylinder, Cone, Sphere. With the ability to move the object, set the angle, join two objects, cut an object out of the other object, rounding an edge (fillet), flattening an edge (chamfer), with those operations I can build simple 3D objects I wanted.

Tower-shape token is made of a cone with a sphere on top of it. Then I want to save time and filament in printing the token what can I do? I make a smaller cone and sphere, place it inside the larger token, then cut it out. Now I have a hollow towering token just as I want. Simple, isn't it?

The sequences of joining and cutting objects will give you different result and you have to think and imagine before picking the operation. You can use "undo" button of course, so don't worry about making mistakes.

Another helpful thing is "visible/hide" option to show or hide an object. In FreeCAD you can use a "spacebar" shortcut. Other apps mostly use the "light bulb" icon or an "eye" icon to show/hide an object. Fusion 360 has "ghost mode/transparency" way more convenient to align object in object. Or "shell" which makes an object hollow in a click. I believe FreeCAD has it too, just haven't found it yet. That's why I am learning Fusion 360 at this moment ^_^

Step 4: Dice

Building a dice is fun. Create a cube and place spheres on its surface half way in. Place the spheres to form numbers and cut them out of the cube. After finish with all the numbers on all surfaces, select all edges of the cube and click on fillet to round the sharp edges. Try to play with the size of the cube and the size of fillet. In your slicer app you can also play with infill setting to get a light dice of heavy dice.

You know what? Try Tinkercad and you can make a dice with one click. Wow!!!

Step 5: Box

Initially I just want a box to keep all the tokens and dice and the folded (paper) board of course. A simple box made of 2 pieces, top and bottom. Observing my kids playing with dice, they tend to throw it far when they get angry or get too excited. So the identical half boxes ended up to be the dice-tower's tray. The box dimensions are 126 mm x 126 mm x 24 mm.

Step 6: Box Clipper

The two halves of the box will then become the dice tower's tray. Now the dice won't roll far away but within the tray. Simply make two clips that slide into the boxes' gaps.

How to design the clip in simple perspective?

  • Draw two rectangles and place them inside the gaps (remember the offset -- make them smaller than the gaps)
  • Draw two rectangles and place one inside the tray and one outside the tray.
  • Draw a rectangle on top of those four previously made rectangles.
  • Join those 5 rectangles into one box clip.

Another way to skip this Box Clip is using two small binder to do the clipping job.

Step 7: Dice Tower

When I assigned my kids to build a dice tower based on my previous dice tower from a box, they came out with this cardboard tower. They are always be very careful with cutter and scissors and they will ask me to do the hard part like making a hole with cutter.

WARNING : Always keep an eye on the kids while working with sharp tools.

Their cardboard design inspired me building this plug and play tower flipper. Then I needed to design the stackable and collapsible tower to fit in the box. The idea ended up with trapezoid, loop and hook. Well, this is not that simple as building a token, dice and box with basic shapes. Of course you can use rectangles with some rotation degrees and cut/join objects but there will be much more work moving and rotating objects with certain degrees. This time you can try the "sketch" module. I won't say it is easier, but when you master it, yes. I myself struggles using the built-in sketch module in both FreeCAD and Fusion 360.

I drew my sketch with my favorite vector app. Exported it in .SVG file. Then I imported the .SVG file into FreeCAD. There I got 2D image in sketch. Use the "extrude" tool to turn it into 3D with desired thickness which is 2 mm in my project. Again, no detail steps here but the rough idea combined with tutorials on the net will be a good practice for us to master the 3D modeler app.

Assembling the dice tower is also doable without manual instructions. Why I say so? Because my 9 years old girl can build it without my help. You can use a single stack of dice tower with two to three flippers, or double stack tower with four flippers. Position of the flippers may vary. Just make sure the dice doesn't get stuck inside the tower. In case your dice is larger and the flippers get too close to the wall, you can scale it shorter in your slicer app or simply put a rubber band on the flipper outside the tower as seen in the photo above.

Step 8: Enjoy

Well, that's it. Enjoy the Collapsible 3D Printed Ludo Set.

Yes, I feel that the tower is wobbly. I can make it sturdier but it will be harder to assemble and increasing the risk of broken in the hand of kids. Maybe you have better ideas to fix it.

For now, we are happy with it at home. When they get bored just google and print "Snakes and Ladders" to play ;)

3D Printed Contest

Participated in the
3D Printed Contest