Rolling the Dice — the Tale of 3d6+4

I often get asked where my inspiration comes from, usually right after “What were you thinking?”  It can come from anywhere, but my friends and family are endless sources of new ideas.  Thanks everyone.

This one goes way back to family games with dice, like Yahtzee and then from the hours and days spent with role playing games (rpgs).

I built a model first to see how it would work out and to submit to the Sioux Falls SculptureWalk.  This was one I really wanted to build and it was selected for the Mason City, IA River City Sculptures on Parade program.  Perfect!  I get to make the sculpture and visit a new city. 

Mason City is a great little town. And it has only one of two Frank Wright Lloyd designed hotels — and it’s beautiful. Highly recommend a stop there.  Plus it has some great sculpture from a bunch of my sculpture buddies.

dice-1First step, figure out the dimensions.  Three feet per side seems like a good way to go.  Order the cut pieces from Discount Steel (much faster than cutting 18 14 guage steel sheets on my own).  Then assemble.

Who would have thought it took so much to put together a cube.  And lots of time.  I was busy, busy, busy. 

Then I needed the spots, commonly known as pips.  I did the vector drawing and  used our plasma cutter to cut out 63+ circles of steel. Took longer than you think.

Next grinding.  Lots and lots of grinding.  I had to go buy some expensive flap wheels to grind those edges or I’d still be there.  Once all the grinding was done (thirsty work — needed several beers after that), it was assembly.  I figured I would bolt them together to make it easier to move.  More on that later.

 dice-2 dice-3

Finally got them positioned and bolted together how I wanted them.  Looks good.  Now paint them.  That was also a serious chore.  There’s a lot of surface area to a 3 foot cube.  Done and they look beautiful.

dice-6Put them on the trailer and drive them to Mason City for the install.  Of course, it’s pouring down rain and my pad is in the perennial bed of flowers making everything mucky and slippery.  The 4 Js as I called them (local body-builders and all around great guys) helped get them into place.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I totally froze when putting the dice together in the proper alignment.  I had photos of them in the correct configuration but it wasn’t working.  Everyone asking questions, pouring down rain, EVERYONE looking.  My brain went blank.  I ran off to the van to get some more supplies, took a breath and then finally came back calmer and managed to get it all together. And more or less in a good alignment. Lesson: Weld those suckers together and use a crane.

Eventually it all came together and they look great in Central Park in Mason City.  Whew!    3d6+4 - Painted Steel - Mason City, IA




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