Open source dice making!

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This was an article that I dug out of the wayback machine about creating your own custom dice. I haven't tested the methods yet, but this does look like a promising way to do dice for various game systems (Fudge, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, etc...).

You would like to have some funny and cheap custom dice made?

Do setup fees step you back from giving a quick present to a friend?

Want to do some dice tests without having to ask for a loan to get them made?

Then, you are in the right place.

I know, this post will grant me some enemies in the dice making industry…but, know what?…I thought it will be fun to make some “open source” dice making.

Items you will need:

  1. Laser printer.
  2. INKJET photographic paper (glossy).
  3. Blank dice.
  4. Clothes iron.
  5. 500 grit sandpaper.
  6. 1200 grit sandpaper.
  7. Water.
  8. Scissors.

First, make your design. I have done quick tests with b/w, but a color laser printer might just work too. Print it on the INKJET photo paper, on the glossy side. REMEMBER: the designs will be flipped when “fusing” on the die, so you must flip them before printing!

Sand the die with the 500 grit paper. Make sure you use a FLAT surface to do this, otherwise, the process won’t work well.  After that, use the 1200 grit paper (adding water) to leave a nice finish on the die surface.

Cut the shape you want for a given face. Leave a little paper strip, you will need it later to remove the “protection media” for the toner (aka: paper).

Put the cutout over the die.Using the clothes iron at high setting, just press it over the paper. This might require some tests, to me, it was two 10 second presses, with 4 seconds in between to avoid plastic melting. Also, you don’t need to apply much pressure. The iron weight itself, plus your hand, will suffice.

Leave it to cool a little (20 seconds worked for me) then, using the little strip we left, just peel the paper off. You will have grey-ish surface finish on the toner. That is due to the glossy finish material, wich, in first place, allowed you to leave the fused tonner on the plastic.

After that, with the 1200 sandpaper, SLIGHTLY sand the die surface…that way you will remove the grey-ish layer, and reveal the black one.

Thist test one, was not prefectly sanded, and some of the tonner didn’t fuse to the plastic. Also, the plastic melt around the mould injection point. You can overcome that by sanding all the edges of the die prior to “printing”. You can also spray some lacker or similar, wich will protect the printout a little more. Of course, this is not a hardcore gaming die, and it will fade over time.

CORRECTION*: I marked a die with permanent marker, and did some rubbing tests…the fact is that the material itself sustained an incredible amount of rubbing before showing any fading. The permanent marker was long gone before the toner markings noticed the heavy rubbing. (took the die and with one hand, i pressed and rotated the die against my palm, as hard as I could…the black parts, just stayed there…) I think now that this might be a great discovery…

In my opinion it’s waaaaaaaay (*now, infinitely) better than drawing the die by hand, or in stickers, don’t you think?