Making Dice—Day 4: Finishing and Polishing
Day Four: Finishing and Polishing
You would’ve noticed when pulling your dice that there’s some extra material left over on them. If you didn’t notice while pulling them, you would’ve noticed while trying to roll them for the first time. This extra material is the sprue and it’s a good thing to have! Resin will shrink overtime when curing, so having the extra material in the mold assures that you will have a complete die after clean up.
The sprue makes rolling impossible though, so you do need to get rid of it. There’s a couple ways to go about it. If you pulled your dice a little earlier than the recommended curing time because they cured that fast, they might still be a little soft. Carefully use a utility or craft knife to cut the spru off and turn the die while doing so. If the sprue has a thin enough spot, you can also just take a pair of jewelry cutters to that spot and snip it off (which will be easier on your hands in the long run).
You should have a kind of rough spot on your die now – that’s where the sprue was and it’s easy enough to fix. First, you’ll have to sand it down. Using a lower grit sandpaper, I tend to start at P150, carefully sand down the excess material. Don’t sand too much! For cleaning this up and polishing, you’ll need to go through grits. P150 is perfect for getting to about the level you need the material to be. After that, you’re going to start going up through levels. P180, P220, P240, and so on while being mindful of keeping the shape you need. To get that finished polish, you’re going to have to go up through P3000, which is usually a finishing grit you can find in auto shops. You can go even higher than that when looking online, but P3000 is enough for me.
Still, the resin can be a little cloudy. It’s nice and smooth after sanding, but there’s still something not quite nice about it. Here’s where you polish.
While at the auto shop for a completely non-auto task, pick up a bottle of headlight cleaning polish. Follow the instructions on the bottle when polishing your dice and you’d be surprised at how clean and shiny the finished product is!
In fact, you can even go ahead and start playing your TTRPGs and wow your teammates with your brand new dice. When they ask where they can get a set for themselves, you can just tell them that it’s one of a kind.