Friday, September 8, 2017

Build a DIY Dice Tower

Dice Tower
If you play board games, you've encountered dice rolling off the table or knocking board pieces out of place. This tower keeps the dice in one spot and simplifies rolling.

Materials:
  • 1/4" MDF
  • 1/4" acrylic (optional)
  • red felt
  • wood glue
  • contact cement for the acrylic (optional)
  • spray glue for the felt
Tools:
  • table saw & cross cut sled
  • hack saw
  • flat file
  • belt sander
  • router with 45 degree chamfer bit
  • finishing sander
Cut List:
  • (2) 8"x8" with 5"x6" cut out for the L shaped sides
  • (1) 3"x8" back
  • (1) 3"x7.5" bottom
  • (1) 3"x2" front
  • (3) 3"x3" baffles. the edges will be mitered
  • (1) 3.5"x6" piece of acrylic
If you don't have the tools, you could cut this with a circular saw or even a hand saw. While I made this out of MDF, you could also make it out of foam core or even cardboard.
It all starts with a piece of MDF and a plan.
While I made an acrylic face, that's only because I wanted a cool feature. It doesn't serve much purpose, but boy does it look cool.
All the pieces necessary for construction.
The overall size of each side is 8"x8". The bottom tray is 2" tall and the tower opening is 3"x3". With the shape of the table saw, I stopped cuts short, then used a hack saw to finish the cut and a file to smooth out any roughness. A circular blade does not create a perfectly vertical cut. While you could cut all the way through, you'll either have to live with a small blade kerf or fill it.
Once all pieces are cut, make sure the sides have even dimensions. This is where the belt sander comes in. Make sure the front, back, and bottom widths match, and then make sure the baffles match.

I just eyeballed the placement of the baffles. Placing one of them .5" from the top and the second centered between the bottom and top baffle. One edge is mitered at a 45 degree angle for the top two. For the bottom baffle, both edges are mitered.
The baffles are in place just to prevent any twisting of flex.
Baffles in place.
I glued up everything but the baffles and acrylic first, then glued in the baffles. If I was wrapping the baffles with felt, doing so before gluing them in is ideal. I started on felt after glue up, but before the acrylic. I kind of wish I had felted the baffles, but it's a minor concern.

I managed to apply the felt to just the bottom of the tray and the bottom baffle. I sprayed glue onto just the felt and taped off the edges of the dice tower so glue wouldn't smear onto it from the felt as I inserted the felt. I used my finger to push the felt into place and used a hobby knife to trip any excess.

I taped off the acrylic for the contact cement and cleaned the inside face, if you have a finger print on the inside face when you glue it into place, it will be very difficult to clean it off.  Let the contact cement tack for ten minutes, then place the acrylic. Once you stick it, it's done so be careful.
Dice tower complete. It's ridiculously fun to roll dice now.
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