I remember watching the game show “The Price is Right” when I was younger, and my favorite part of the show was when contestants would have the opportunity to drop chips in the Plinko game, similar to a Pachinko device. Sometimes they would win big, while other times they would walk away a loser. Regardless, it was always a fun sight to see.
One man, named Ryan Somma, decided to take the popular Japanese Pachinko machine and 3D print his very own dice tower based on this concept.
Somma’s wife, Vicky, got into 3D modeling last year and was recently one of the winners in the White House’s 3D Printed Christmas Ornament Challenge with her Library of Congress-inspired design. Her love for 3D modeling all started with a pendant she wanted but could not find, so she designed one herself in Blender. Slowly, Ryan became curious, and he himself started to take up an interest in 3D modeling and printing.
“She warned me that I would catch the bug too. That soon I would think of something that didn’t exist, but that I had to have, and would get swept up in making it a reality,” Ryan tells 3DPrint.com. “When Vicky hosted a booth on 3D Printing Without a Printer at our local MakerFaire, I found a booth selling Dice Towers, and realized I wanted a Pachinko Machine version of the same thing.”
For those of you unfamiliar with exactly what a Pachinko machine is, you have probably seen one at some time in you life. It involves the dropping of a ball down through an array of pegs. The ball falls randomly through these pegs and if they end up falling into specific designated slots, you win. If not, you lose.
In Ryan’s dice tower, there are three chutes at the top. If you drop a die in the right chute, it should have the lowest probability of coming out the left catch on the bottom. At the same time, the dice are spun around creating a random outcome for each die that falls through the machine.
To create this elaborate design, Ryan used OpenJSCAD, after being advised to do so by his wife Vicky.
It was then off to using Blender to scale his model, and make other quick adjustments prior to using Slicer and Print Run to prep it for printing. To print out the tower, Ryan used his newly purchased MakerGear M2 to print out the design in multiple pieces. The entire print process took approximately 30 hours to complete, but the results came out very well for the most part.
For the glass on the front of the tower, Ryan used a piece from an old, broken picture frame, but he intends to find a standard-sized acrylic sheet that he can fit into the box to make it easier for others to copy his design.
“The pegs on the left are too close to the wall, which causes D20 dice to get stuck there,” admitted Ryan. “I used a soldering iron to shave those pegs down enough to make the prototype work smoothly, but I want to clean that up for the final model. Also, the model uses too much material, so I intend to put some time into making the walls thinner to bring down costs. The top funnel and base are too-tightly fit, and any bit of warping in the print process keeps them from fitting into the box, so I will also work on finding the right proportions for those pieces so that everything can come together more easily.”
As for the design files for the Pachinko Dice Tower, Ryan has made them available for free to download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License and has opened a Project on GitHub.Let us know what you think of Ryan Somma’s design and if you have attempted to create this yourself in the Pachinko Dice Tower Forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the tower in action below.