Introduction: Cthulhu Dice Tower

Hey everyone! I recently made this for a buddy of mine for his birthday, and figured that I would share how I went about building it. I made the plans in Inventor, and used a laser cutter along with Inkscape to prepare the parts for cutting.

Below is the PDF file I used to cut the thing out, *NOTE* this file has a line thickness of .1 mm, so you'll have to change that before uploading to your laser cutter.

Step 1: Things You'll Need

  • (Optional) 3D modeling software - I used Inventor to model up the parts used for the wood cutter, but any modeling software should do fine. Alternatively, you can just use the files included with this instructable
  • Vector Drawing software - I used inkscape, but, again, any should do. This is used for editing the parts before cutting
  • Laser cutter/etcher - you can usually find these at Maker Spaces, plus there are a few places online who will cut it for you
  • Wood - I used a 1/4 in. thick piece of birch plywood. The actual width ended up being .2 in, which was perfect for the project.
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain

Step 2: Design the Tower

For this tower, I wanted it to be 20 x 15 x 20 cm, which ended up being a bit too thick for normal everyday use, so if you're trying to do this yourself, i would cut the width in half (20 x 7.5 x 20). I first modeled the back to size, and then used a second extrude feature to cut out notches that were as deep as the wood i was using (.2 in) and as wide as it took to space them evenly along the sides (for me this ended up being roughly 13 & 1/3 mm). Then, I created an assembly, placed the part in the assembly, and created the notches using the project geometry tool. After the tower frame was made, I edited the sketch for the two side panels, and placed the internals using, again, the project geometry tool.

Step 3: Creating Your Template

For the laser cutter that I was using, I had to make sure all of my parts were in a PDF file, and that all the lines I would be cutting the wood with had to be .01 mm thick and red. To do this, I made a drawing file, and projected all of the parts I wanted onto it. Remember on this step that you just want the actual cutout shapes: You don't need to worry about the thickness of your wood, since what you'll be cutting from already has a thickness appropriate for your design. For the shelves, I had to setup a custom view by going to the custom view option, clicking the surface that I wanted for the design, and selecting "look at."

After placing the shapes, I selected the lines for each shape, made them red (RGB 255, 0, 0), and reduced the thickness down to .1 mm. This was the thinnest that I could go, and I had to edit it later on to correct it before cutting, but for the time being that was fine.

After everything looks good, export as a PDF and you're done with this step! Now for the fun part!

Step 4: Adding Designs

After you get your pdf, open your vector drawing software (InkScape in this case) and add your designs! I found the cthulhu symbol from a google search, and then edited it to how I wanted it using this guide. For the text, I just used the built in text function to type out the quote, and then rotated it to how I wanted it. Since these rasters were burned first, they were cut out with the pieces later.

A WORD OF CAUTION - The method I used to get the designs onto the dice tower took very long. The Cthulhu symbol by itself took 40+ min. When discussing this with some of the people at the space, they suggested that I use vector engraving lines (Blue, .01 mm) to outline the design I wanted. If you're pressed for time, or if you want to attempt something larger than this, I would highly recommend this method. However, the burned images did look awesome.

Step 5: Cut the Piece

Get your piece of wood and your handy dandy laser cutter, and get to work! As discussed in the previous step, the raster images for the text and symbol took a very long time, so try to use vector rasters if you can. Overall the piece took around 1 hr 30 min to fully cut.

Step 6: Gluing, Staining, and Final Product

After receiving your parts from the laser cutter, get to work staining the sucker. I would suggest using a stain that isn't too dark, as the raster might not show up fully if you do. I applied one light coat to the entire thing, waited for it to dry, and then went back and placed another coat on the symbol and the text on the back. The notches formed by the raster actually helped the stain stay in place, so after brushing it on I was able to prevent it from getting all over the back by wiping of the spaces that weren't engraved with a dry rag. Afterwords, Glue the parts together, clamp the thing using the 9000 million clamps people seem to have lying around (I didn't, so I just used some books to weigh it down), and wait for the thing to dry!

Overall, I was pretty proud of this thing. I wanna thank everyone online who's tutorials helped me actually manage to build this thing. I'm gonna try and build more nerdy things like this, and I'll make sure to post more tutorials. If you have any questions, leave them down in the comments!