From a dark, uncharted corner of the maker universe where fantastic monsters, wizards, and fierce foes with mighty weapons meet in towering stacks of collectible cards or tables full of maps, comes the inspiration for the latest 3D printed wonder from RPG (role-playing game) enthusiast and adept 3D modeler Ian Dwyer: It’s a die in the shape of the notorious Kraken, the legendary, tentacled sea monster, and it’s available for sale in his Shapeways store.
Said to dwell in the dark, icy waters off the coasts of Greenland and Norway, the Kraken, which looks something like a giant squid, is also one of the many beasts that menace Dungeons and Dragons players. Dwyer, who lives in New York, is a digital artist, 3D designer, tabletop gamer, and, he added on his Shapeways bio, “a huge nerd.” But nerds make the coolest friends and, in this context, designers, as Dwyer’s Kraken is an impressively detailed, fully usable die that should appeal not only to RPG fans, but people who appreciate, well, beautifully designed and well-made art objects.
The die, which is nearly three inches across, really does work as far as dice go. As Dwyer explains, “It’s a completely fair 20-sided die.” While D20 enthusiasts will certainly recognize the Kraken as a feature of the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, we’re pretty sure it could have broader appeal.
Check out some test rolls:
The Kraken die was printed by Shapeways out of bronze-infused stainless steel. According to Shapeways, the material has the final composition of around 60% steel and 40% bronze. The appearance of the Kraken–not shiny and highly reflective like you’d expect with stainless steel but, rather, with slight gold undertones–is the result of this mix.
Shapeways uses a particular, intricate process for printing with steel.
“To build steel models,” explains their info page on 3D printing in steel, “special 3D printers deposit small drops of glue onto layers of stainless steel powder, one layer at a time until the print is complete.”
Once the print is completed, the model is removed from the 3D printer very carefully as it is still quite fragile–comparable to the consistency of wet sand. The model is then subjected to an infusion process that replaces the glue with bronze, thereby creating a fully metal object. Following that step, the object is sprayed with a sealant and given a finish ranging from shiny to flat, basically.
Dwyer’s Kraken dice sell for $44.99 each in stainless steel and are available through his Shapeways store. Notably, the Kraken isn’t the only die he has designed for games that, it must be said, revolve heavily around the toss of a 20-sided die. Also, if you’re crazy about the Kraken but don’t have the $44.99 (we think it’s more than worth the price), then you can get a less pricey version 3D printed in translucent plastic for around $15–or go all out and get it made in raw brass or raw bronze for closer to $120.
Dwyer also designs an array of other goodies to appeal to any RPG enthusiast, available in his Nvenom8 shop at Shapeways.