Is there anything more frustrating than opening up a board game for game night and discovering that there are pieces missing? You can usually play anyhow, but it’s not quite the same – you’re always aware of that missing piece, especially when that piece could have put you ahead of your opponent. Scrabble pieces tend to mysteriously disappear at the highest rate, in my experience, and while you can engineer a replacement with cardboard and marker, it’s a bit obvious when you’re holding the cardboard “Q” in your letter tray.
Columbia University student Jason Powell came up with a simple solution: why not 3D print the replacement pieces you need? Or, if you’ve lost the Scrabble set from your childhood, why not print a whole new set? On his Instructables page, he explains, in-depth, how to print your own tiles and trays:
His design offers two single-extrusion options, as well as a double-extrusion one, as STLs.
“I use the wood lay filament,” says Powell. “You can use whatever filament you like, obviously, but the wood lay filament makes the Scrabble pieces look like the real Scrabble pieces, which is really cool.”
The pieces are 19 x 19 x 4 mm, the size of standard Scrabble tiles, so any replacements you print will fit seamlessly in with the rest of the set – no more awkward cardboard “Q” giving away your hand to your opponents.
Powell’s design is free, open source, and can be downloaded from Instructables, Thingiverse, or Youmagine. He is relatively new to 3D printing, and making his designs beginner-friendly is a priority for him.
“My mission is to upload very simple, fully tested and 100% ready to print – directly from my page – ‘things’ that require little to no experience or skill in drafting and/or 3D printing for the downloader,” he explains.
His Scrabble set is a quick print job; one of the letter trays takes about half an hour. The 26-year-old is also very interested in connecting and sharing ideas with other designers and makers.
“My goal is to find and (collaborate) with as many people who think and feel the same way and with the same level passion as I do regarding this amazing movement,” he notes.
Powell is currently majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science at Columbia, and recently began working as a Prototype Engineer with 3DMonstr. His other designs include filament cleaners and spool holders, as well as several varieties of LED lights and night lights. Impressively, he also built his own enclosure for making and printing, much of it 3D printed itself. Powell’s passion for 3D printing is obvious, and he clearly possesses a great deal of talent and innovation. You can keep up with his work on his LinkedIn page, or watch some of his other instructional videos on his YouTube channel.