We've mentioned a few times in our subscriber letters that we've been experimenting with handmade dice. Our purpose is two fold first we want to be able to turn around ideas and samples faster and easier then trying to communicate with a factory and second because we are considering launching a line of handmade dice.
We've made a lot of progress and hope to be announcing more in the next few weeks. Anyway we thought we'd do a series of blog posts discussing the process and what we've learned as it might interest other people.
Roughly speaking the process to make a set of gaming dice is to start with an existing set (a blank). From those make a silicon mold and then fill that mold with resin, color and whatever additives you want such as glitter.
If you're looking to save money by making your own dice I'm sorry to report you won't. You need a lot of equipment and resin is really fantastically expensive. So far we've spent just under $1000 USD on equipment in this project. Obviously you can spend a lot less if you know what to buy so we'll include a list of things that are useful.
Safety Gear - When working with chemicals err on the side of over caution this includes lots of ventilation, eye protection and gloves. Right now getting gloves is very difficult and they should be saved for medical personal but you can make due with dish gloves which aren't perfect but work fine. For eye protection you don't need impact protection just something to keep splash back from potentially getting in your eyes. The three pack is nice because if resin gets on them they will cloud up.
Misc Equipment - This kit includes all the little things you'll need to do resin casting. You could assemble this kit from other places but getting it all at once is worthwhile. In particular the silicon table mat is a major winner it creates a perfect workspace to protect your kitchen table although it could be a little larger.
Resin - We've tried a few different types of resin and found this one to be the best choice. It isn't cheap but it is easy to work with and doesn't smell as terrible as others. Note even though resin doesn't offgas as much doesn't mean you should not work in a very well ventilated space.
Pressure Pot - When you see the price you'll probably ask the question - do I really need a pressure pot? Honestly it depends if you are willing to throw away miscast dice then you can work without it. We've found that our results are far more consistent with the pressure pot.
Mica Powder - To create basic colored glitter effects we've found this pack works well. There are dozens of options and they all seem about the same so if one is cheaper go with that.
UV Resin - Some of the designs we are working on require the us of UV resin. We've tried a few and settled on this one mostly because it is easiest to apply.
UV Flashlight - To cure UV resin you'll either need to leave the resin in the window until 2025 or just spend $10 and buy a cheap UV flashlight.
Mold Silicon - We've tried a few options and honestly don't love working with any of them but this one is the least difficult.
That's it for now in our next post we'll talk about tips and tricks to build a dice mold.