There are a large number of fantasy related dice towers. Being a sci-fi fan, however, I wanted one that was science fiction themed. And while I could find a few examples on-line, they were still just variations on the simple tower. I wanted something that looked like a spaceship. Not finding any existing models. I decided to create my own. The prototype for this project was the result. If you want the full story of the design process, check out my blog post about how I created and developed the dice tower model.
Backing this project at the $40 or higher level gets you a fully functional dice tower styled on the retro science fiction ships of the mid 20th century.
There are two different designs available. The first is the standard design with the ship poised above its landing pad (the dice tray) and the dice exiting out of the tail of the ship between the fins. The alternate design only has one opening in the side of the ship (opposite the input window) and the ship rests on the side of the dice tray. In both cases, the towers come in two pieces: the ship itself and the dice tray.
In addition to the two different models, each model is available in two different sizes. The standard size is just over 8.5 inches tall and can accommodate dice up to 23.5mm in size. The base for this size is about 5.5 inches in diameter. If 8.5 inches just isn't big enough for you, there is a "super-sized" version that stands 12 inches tall with a 7.7 inch base and can accommodate dice up to 32mm in size.
The towers will be printed in PLA plastic and will ship with all the printing support material removed and will be ready for sanding and/or painting or they can be used as is. The default plastic color will be white as shown in the prototype images but if the project funds I will survey backers to allow for a limited number of alternate colors. I'm currently planning on providing black and silver as additional options. If there is another color you'd like to see, let me know in the comments.
Well first, I'm getting the satisfaction that a number of people will be enjoying something I created. But on a more practical level, I'll be getting a 3D printer that I can use for this and other projects.
When I first started posting images of the prototypes and models of the dice tower, several people expressed interest in getting one. So I started looking into the cost of producing them. In looking at the professional, on-line production sites, the lowest cost I could find for the standard sized model was just over $100. Some of the prices were over $300.
Services that connected people who have things to print with people who owned printers priced the standard model towers out at the $40-80 level. The printer I have access to at the library where I work (and where I printed the prototype) priced out at the low end of that range but with the advantage that I'd have full control over the process. And those prices were all before adding in shipping costs.
Knowing the cost of printers, filament for printing, and shipping, I realized that I could produce these myself for cheaper if I simply had my own printer. So you're getting an awesome dice tower for cheaper than you can produce it anywhere except on your own printer and I'm getting a printer. We all win.
The following reward levels are being offered at the moment. If there are good suggestions or demand for additional options, I might add them during the campaign. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments. All reward levels include domestic shipping within the United States.
Moral Support - $1
You don't really need a spaceship dice tower but think this is a cool idea and want to see the project succeed.
- You'll receive a hearty thanks and be mentioned as a backer in post Kickstarter information on the product.
Just the Files - $3
You think the dice tower is great and would like one but you already own a 3D printer and could make it cheaper yourself if you only had the model files. I get it. This is the reward tier for you.
- Just like the Moral Support tier, you'll receive a hearty thanks and be mentioned as a backer in post Kickstarter information on the product.
- Additionally, you'll receive a copy of the STL model files needed to print either version of the dice tower
Ready For LIftoff - $40
You think the dice tower is great and want the ship poised over it's launch pad.
- You receive all the rewards from the Just the Files tier.
- Additionally, you'll receive one printed dice tower in the standard configuration ready for painting or immediate use in the color of your choice from the color options available (initially white, black, or silver).
Landing on the Side - $40
You like the dice tower but want the higher visibility of the dice with the tray on the side.
- You receive all the rewards from the Just the Files tier.
- Additionally, you'll receive one printed dice tower in the on-the-side configuration ready for painting or immediate use in the color of your choice from the color options available (initially white, black, or silver).
Super-Size Me - Ready For LIftoff - $60
While you think the dice tower is great and want the ship poised over its launch pad, 8.5 inches tall just isn't big enough. You need the larger 12" model to dominate the game table.
- You receive all the rewards of the standard sized Ready for Liftoff reward except that your tower will be 12 inches tall instead of the standard 8.5".
Super-Size Me - Landing on the Side - $60
While you think the dice tower is great and want the higher visibility of the ship on the side, the standard 8.5" size just won't cut it and you need the 12" model.
- You receive all the rewards of the standard sized Landing on the Side reward except that your tower will be 12 inches tall instead of the standard 8.5".
Other Reward Tiers
If you think of other reward tiers that would interest you in supporting the project, let me know in the comments and I will look into adding them. Some things that might be of interest include a small scale model of the ship alone, not as a dice tower, or an alternate version with the dice coming out the back of the ship instead of the sides.
There currently aren't any stretch goals planned as I don't really have any good ideas that make sense given the nature of the project. Some possibilities include additional small miniatures (of this ship or a few others I've designed) and actual sets of dice to use with the dice tower. Although those may make more sense as add-ons instead of stretch goals. If you have any ideas of stretch goals that would entice you to support the project let me know in the comments section.
I believe that backers should know how a creator plans to use the money provided. Presenting a solid plan helps to inspire confidence that the creator knows what they are doing. So here's my budget plan.
Funding Goal: $2100
- Kickstarter Fees (roughly 10%): $210
- Printer cost: $1100
- Production material and shipping: $790
Or if you'd prefer a per item breakdown, it looks like this for the standard sized dice towers:
Pledge amount: $40
- Kickstarter fees: $4
- Shipping cost: $10
- Printer and materials: $26
The breakdown for the super-sized version is similar. Additionally, I already have several hundred dollars of my own money committed for the purchase of the printer in addition to the funds raised by this Kickstarter campaign as a buffer against problems and unexpected costs.
I will be sending out the model files for the dice towers as soon as the project successfully closes. The printed towers will obviously take a little bit longer.
The first step will be ordering the 3D printer and getting it set up. I expect to have this phase of the project complete by late January.
The dice towers take about 17 hours to print (for the standard model) and I'll start the printing process as soon as the 3D printer is up and running. They will be shipped as soon as they come off the printer and will ship out to backers in the order they backed the project. So backing the project early means you'll get your dice tower sooner.
The dice towers will be shipped by USPS Priority Mail for backers in the US and First Class mail for those outside the US and I'll send each backer an e-mail once their package has shipped with the tracking number so they can follow it's progress.
Currently the project is only shipping to the United States (cost included in the reward level) and Canada (an additional US$8) but if there is any interest from backers outside those areas I will look into adding additional foreign shipping options. I've looked at this briefly and it looks like standard first class mail shipping outside the U.S. would add US$15 to the cost.
I currently work as the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Librarian at Brigham Young University where I cover the subject areas of Mathematics, Statistics, Physics & Astronomy, Computer Science, and Information Technology. Before that I worked as a software developer for NASA and have a Ph.D. in astrophysics. (So I guess you could say I'm a rocket scientist.) As part of my current job I work with the students that run the 3D printers and 3D scanner at the library.
I've been creating and printing 3D models, mostly spacecraft, for over 3 years and have hundreds of hours troubleshooting and helping people fix issues with their 3D models that have been printed on our printers.
Risks and challenges
While this is my first Kickstarter, it's a fairly straightforward project. The dice tower model is finished and I have a working prototype that I know prints just fine.
The biggest challenge that may come up is acquiring and setting up the 3D printer that will be used to actually manufacture the dice towers. Any problems in ordering or setting it up may result in delays in delivery of the models. While I've built a buffer into the delivery dates to account for this potentiality, one never knows what might come up. I have a couple of different sources to acquire the printer and even an alternate printer model in mind if absolutely necessary. Regardless, I will keep backers informed of the general progress of the project and any delays that arise.
The other "risk" is that this project will be much more successful than I anticipate and I'll need to produce many more dice towers than I initially expected. In this case the only real risk is that I may not be able to deliver them all before the projected deadline. The towers take about a day to print so a large volume of backers may mean that it takes a bit longer to fulfill than anticipated.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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