Open source dice making!
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:
- Laser printer.
- INKJET photographic paper (glossy).
ATTENTION: Photo paper must be PAPER BACKED. Some high quality photo papers have a plastic back, wich will melt upon aplying heat, destroying the work.
- Blank dice.
- Clothes iron.
- 500 grit sandpaper.
- 1200 grit sandpaper.
- Flat surface (thick glass or mirror)
- Smooth cotton cloth (old plain shirts)
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. Ideally, you would want to cut a square the size of the die itself, so you can align it correctly.
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. UPDATE: Dip the die for five yo ten minutes in water. After that amount of time, check the die, if the paper is soft, then just peel it off and throw the die back to the water to soften the residues. Repeat the process as needed until you only have small residues. After that, pick a smooth cotton cloth (I use old shirts) and rub the die, really really hard. You will have remove the 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.
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?
Of course, If you don’t want to make them, I can do it for you! Each die will cost 4€ with simple images. See some other tests here.