So you want a dice box?
- Carved from solid hardwood, no joints - check
- Separate compartment for each dice - check
- Strong Neodymium magnets to hold it together - check
- Nice image or quote engraved on front - check
- Holds a full set of poly dice - check
- Plus 3 D6 extra - check
- Plus 3 D20 extra - check
Is that it? No!
Flip the box over for an integrated hit point / death save tracker!
You don't want a dice box, you want this dice box!
I am a father of two grown up game-playing children. I made a wooden dice box for my daughter's D&D dice set (twice, as the first one wasn't big enough for her dice) as they seem at risk of damage rattling against each other in a bag, and then for my son's 12mm Warhammer dice.
He wanted a graphic device engraved on his, just to be challenging. They were both pleased, and their friends were impressed.
So far so good. I thought the D&D box was much bigger than it needed to be (90x135x24mm) so created a design launched on Kickstarter for a compact dice box half the size.
That went well for a first Kickstarter, funded and fulfilled.
One Year On
Fast forward a year (with another funded/fulfilled Kickstarter in between for a hardwood dice tower/box/tray combo) and I realised that the larger dice box was still my best seller.
Hmm. I wonder if that should have been my first Kickstarter?
My own view on Kickstarter is that if you back a product you should be one of the first to get your hands on that product. It shouldn't be available elsewhere before rewards have been fulfilled. My large dice box has been available on Etsy for years.
A New Idea
I'm always looking for something new to try, or some way to add value.
With the dice boxes (on Kickstarter and on Etsy) I offer custom engraving - text or graphics - and allow people to buy something unique.
The large dice box on Etsy was always engraved on one side, and perhaps also the inside.
Inside engraving was unusual - so why not use the space for more dice?
I'd made a few custom boxes for people who wanted different configurations, but as a standard option why not make space for 3 additional dice in the middle, anything up to D20?
And yet still there is something missing. The outside tends to be plain on one side. What can be done? What do players need along with their dice and dice box? I've already covered the dice tower/tray.
And so I hit (pun intended) upon an integrated point tracker.
First of all I spent a lot of time modelling a hit point tracker, coming up with various ideas and layouts, until finally I had something I wanted to make.
Forgive the rusty bearings. Note that the Hit Point Tracker only takes up half the box - so I added a Death Saves Tracker as well.
Now this works reasonably well: the balls are easily moved, and survive the table suffering a moderate bump. But I'd really like the holes to be deeper. Deeper holes in the tracker means meeting up with the dice pockets on the inside.
Disaster! What can be done?
Make the wood thicker. This allows me to make the tracker holes as deep as a I want without affecting the integrity of the core function as a dice box.
The holes are deep enough to fully accommodate the marker bearings - hold it flat at eye level and you cannot see the markers. Those babies are not coming out easily.
I was going to throw in a magnet to make it easier (possible) to move the deep set markers, but when making a video I found it pesky - too easy to pick up a second bearing by accident.
So the teardrop shaped marker-mover was born. This is sized to fit in a D20 dice slot if you want it in the box, and contains a powerful Neodymium magnet of it's own. The teardrop shape allows easy placement of the magnet over the markers/holes while still giving you something decent to hold onto. The larger marker-mover in the video does not fit in the box and is intended for those who may find their dexterity challenged through disability, age, or other factor.
In the backer survey you will be able to select which of the two mover sizes you want.
It's definitely easier for a maker to offer as few variations as possible. But that's no fun!
You can have ANY image from ANY of my Kickstarters, or ANY image of mine you see on Etsy.com. If you have something completely different in mind then message me and we will see what we can do. Most things that start life as a black and white line drawing can be easily converted for engraving in wood.
Below is a (digital preview, sorry I didn't take a photo of the finished item) custom engraving for a dice box made up with a bit of to-and-fro by email with a backer in Australia. I'm happy to do this sort of thing but you have to accept when I say I can't do something. You want a picture of your baby son dressed up as Charlie Chaplin? I can't do that. Or at least not at these prices.
Some real photos ... engravings you can get, taken from other products. Note that these are v-carved, not laser etched.
Hopefully these are enough to give you an idea of what can be done (remember you can have text as well as the graphic) - free (black and white) graphics from the likes of pixabay.com are a good source.
All wood is Oak. A stain can be applied, as shown below, and is recommended to make engraving stand out better. Only the boldest of designs (such as Celtic Knot) stand out well on unstained wood.
Much as I would like to offer free rein on choice of font, carving in wood does give some restrictions (given the space we have) so you should be thinking of choosing from the following:
All dice boxes are made by me - I do not design in-house and then pass to a far-east factory for manufacture. Check out www.woodendonkay.uk (links to Etsy shop) for some of the larger boxes (and other stuff).
This Kickstarter project is about testing demand, and achieving quantities that make these dice boxes cost effective. I make the boxes myself and can mill one from Oak just as easily as 20. Finishing the boxes kills me. It takes longer to stain and varnish one of these than it does to mill and engrave (I bought a sanding machine after a previous kickstarter which helped tremendously), and the cost of finishing materials (cloths, brushes etc) kills any profit if I can't make several similar boxes at once.
The boxes I have part-made so far will sell on my Etsy shop if I can't get Kickstarter funding, and that will be the end of this story.
Note that dice are not included and any shown in this project are for illustration only.
The dice used for testing fit are Chessex CHX27419 (used because for the larger dice box sold on Etsy.com Chessex dice were found to cause problems).
Sizes are (measured flat face to flat face, not point to point):
- D20 20.1mm
- D12 18.6mm
- D10 15.9mm
- D10 15.9mm
- D8 15.1mm
- D6 15.1mm
- D4 17.5mm
Magnets are N42, rated 1.6kg each, and measure 12mm x 2mm. Safety information is available at http://woodendonkay.uk/SafetyInformation.pdf - should the magnets somehow come loose (unlikely since they have to be pounded in with a hammer) care should be taken to keep them away from children and pets as they are dangerous if swallowed.
Shipping is tracked and/or signed for, sent by Royal Mail. I will obtain proof of posting from the Post Office for everything I send, and provide tracking numbers to backers. Shipping times are typically: UK - 1-2 days, EU/Norway 3-5 days, USA/Canada/NZ/Australia 5-7 days.
I previously offered cheaper shipping, with tracking/signature for an additional cost. Very few people asked for tracking as an extra cost, but lots of people asked for tracking details (that they hadn't paid for) or claimed non-delivery. I am truly sorry, but the result of this is that I have to use tracked/insured shipping, which increases the cost to you by £2-£3. I don't make a profit on shipping, and usually subsidise packing materials.
If your country is not listed please get in touch and we will get you a price.
Risks and challenges
Risks? The biggest risk for you guys is me winning the Euromillions lottery jackpot and simply refunding everyone. Odds are 1 in 116,500,000 so you know where you stand on that one. But I like making these so maybe you would still get it anyway.
Machinery failure. Yes that is a risk, but a low one in my opinion. The only thing I use that wouldn't simply be replaced with a new one is my CNC machine, but it is well maintained and still at the start of it's expected life.
Materials availability. If I can't get hold of wood, or magnets, or ball bearings then this project is sunk. I have two local suppliers that I use for wood, and recently visited a timber mill to ensure that in the worst case I can source all the kiln dried hardwood I need. Neodymium magnets and ball bearings? There are dozens of suppliers of both.
Challenges? Definitely challenges. I need your help with the first one - the project needs backers. Back it yourself. Tell your friends. Or keep it secret from them and back it for multiple units so you can gift them to your friends! The target is set low for this project; if a dozen people want one of these, I want to be able to make them for you, I only make a decent profit with larger numbers, to give me economies of scale. Making 20 dark oak stained boxes costs me one brush, one rag, one pair of gloves. Making just 1 ... costs me one brush, one rag, one pair of gloves. Other consumables are the same, and they are what erodes my profit.
On my part the challenge is two part; making all the rewards on time, and keeping the motivation to make all the rewards. Motivation comes in two parts: financial and creative. Backer pledges provide a financial incentive, and backer stories and requests for personalisation provide the creative motivation. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when someone asks me to make a dice box that proposes marriage or celebrates decades of friendship.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)