Adding magic to the mundane, one filament at a time.

Tag: Dice

Here Comes Peter Catan-Tail

It’s Nearly Easter!

And we’ve got some treats for you that are better than chocolate! Well, maybe not better exactly, but at least they’re easier on the waistline.

You can hide Easter eggs across the country with our Ticket to Ride set. And the hatching egg score markers are SOOO cute!

Or if Catan is your preferred game, the egg rows are roads, the hatching eggs are settlements, and you get these awesome Easter baskets for your cities!

Rolling in Style

We were also excited to launch our Collapsible Dice Tower! We talked about its development last week, and it was nearly ready to go. But two final steps ended up taking so long we nearly didn’t launch in time for today’s blog.

First, since it ships in several pieces and needs to be assembled, we needed to write instructions. It’s pretty straightforward, but we really wanted to minimize the chance of our customers not being able to figure it out, or worse, breaking it by doing it wrong.

That meant we needed simple diagrams, understandable annotations, and clear, concise wording. I went through several drafts myself, and then more after getting feedback from our Design Review Department (aka my wife, Lois). Eventually we came up with something we were both happy with.

The other problem we faced was getting good photos for the Etsy listing. This time the problem was shading. I took pictures with a variety of lighting options, but the gray kept coming out looking too light.

I was finally able to get good pictures by switching to a white background instead of the black I’d been using, and we were able to launch!

Dice Tower Variants

Though we currently just have the one design shaped like a castle keep, we’re working on more. They’ll have the same basic structure, but with different surface details to appeal to different gamers. If you have an idea for a different version of our dice tower, let us know in the comments below!

A Brand New (to us) Game Variant

Even with everything else we have going on, we still take time to play board games. This past weekend we got to enjoy our brand new copy of Ticket to Ride – Europe! Better yet, we each chose a different 3D Orcs themed set of game pieces to play with!

We had Easter eggs,


coffins,

canoes,

and standard trains printed in gold. The gold pieces aren’t available on Etsy yet due to continued production problems, but we’re still working on making it happen because when it does work, they look incredible!

But Those Train Stations are the Wrong Colors!

You might have noticed the train stations don’t match the train colors. That’s because this version of Ticket to Ride is so new to us that we haven’t yet modeled the stations and had to use the standard ones out of the box. That’s something multiple customers have asked for, and is what prompted us to buy the game. Now that we know exactly what they look like, we’ll be working on adding train stations to our sets on Etsy. First as an optional add-on to the standard set, and then to some of our specialty themed sets. Come back next Monday to see how we’re doing!

Evolution of a Dice Tower

Our Biggest Prints Yet

Over the past couple weeks we’ve been working on an exciting new game accessory – a dice tower! This is a big deal for us in two ways. First, it’s our largest print to date, and second, it’s the first one that’s printed in multiple pieces to be fitted together after printing.

First Attempt

As is often the case in 3D printing, our first attempt was a pretty dismal failure.

We had a great concept – a dice tower printed in mostly flat pieces, which could be disassembled for convenient storage. And in our design software it all fit and worked perfectly!

But with the actual print it very quickly became apparent that it was completely unworkable. The pieces would not hold together tightly enough to maintain structural integrity.

We could have solved that with more interlocking slot connections, but we really wanted the outside to look good, without a bunch of extra protruding connector bits.

Second Attempt

We ended up shifting away from the separate panel concept and combined the four main walls into a single tube-shaped print. This gave us our tower in four separate prints:

The base, to provide a catching tray for the dice and a stable support for the tower.


The tower tube, which needs to be printed upside down because of the opening at the bottom of the front.


The deflector ramps, which fit inside the tower to help randomize dice rolls.


And the top, providing a structure for the crenellations.

The pieces fit together fairly well,

and could all nest inside the base for shipping and storage.

This basic structure has remained the same since then.

Third Attempt

We made a few sizing adjustments to make the fit even better, and added all the surface detail – stone blocks/bricks, a portcullis, and crenellations. We also added curved bevels in the tray to make dice removal easier, and improved the supports for the deflector ramps.

At first we thought this design might be the final version.

But then we noticed something – the pieces no longer fit together nicely for shipping/storage! We hadn’t taken into account the thickness of the surface detail, and it was just enough to ruin the fit.

Fourth Attempt

So we had to adjust the sizes of several pieces to make it all fit nicely when disassembled, and still work when assembled.

We also increased the size of the tray bevel to make it more helpful in lifting dice out, and thickened the walls in some places for added strength.

Now it fits nicely when collapsed,

and still looks great when assembled!

This is likely our final design, but we’re going to print it again using one or two other filament colors in case that highlights other needed changes. (You’d be surprised what can happen just from using filament from a different supplier!)

That will also give us more photo options for our Etsy listing. In particular we envision it in gray to simulate stone walls, or a bright color for a fairy castle! But just printing more copies is no small feat. Print time for the entire dice tower totals around 20 hours!

And that assumes no failures, like this piece that came loose from the print bed 5.5 hours into a 9 hour print!

Jankó Update

If you read last week’s blog, you know we’ve been working on a funky keyboard project as a special request. It turned out there were still a few small issues to overcome. I’ve got them fixed now, and I’m awaiting approval from the client before moving ahead with the rest of the keys.

New Seasonal Game Pieces

We have an ambitious week ahead of us! We hope to get the dice tower listing up on Etsy, we’ll be producing more keys for the Jank√≥ keyboard, and we’re very excited to be launching some new sets of game pieces for both Ticket to Ride and Catan! Come back next Monday to see them featured here!