Nerds Unite! 3D Printing Meets Tabletop Gaming

by Miya Dunham

Dice are essential to playing most tabletop games.

In more complex games like Dungeons and Dragons, a variety of dice are used within campaigns for different purposes. However, dice bought from many gaming stores can average roughly $10 a set. Instead of paying full price, I set out to 3D print my own dice, which cost me a total of $3.

First, I had to create a file. I could have done this myself on Tinkercad, a browser-based 3D design program, but instead I decided to find a pre-existing file from Thingiverse. Thingiverse is a site where designers share 3D print files with others for free. Once I found and downloaded the file I wanted, I started printing. To learn how to 3D print at Albion College, follow this link to view a tutorial course (An Albion College Moodle login is required). 

After a few failed starts, which is not uncommon for 3D printing, I was able to successfully complete my dice using PVA (wash away) support filament. This filament prints hard, like plastic, but washes away in water. We use this plastic when prints have overhangs, or divets that need to be prominent when the print is completed. I then soaked my dice for about 3 hours before I could get all the PVA off!

Once the PVA was gone, the dice were perfectly balanced and rollable. Play on!

IMG 4601Finished dice

IMG 4603Dice soaking in water

IMG 4617Rollable dice!