Ardent gamers can sometimes be a little obsessive about their dice, but this takes it to absolutely another level. Styled like an antique pocket watch from the 17th and 18th centuries, this portable trinket actually has a trigger-activated die (or dice if that’s what you call it) on the inside. Built from scratch by YouTuber W&M Levsha, the mechanism rotates at high speeds when you plunge the trigger down. Release and it instantly stops rotating, revealing a die-face with a number on it sort of like a miniature wheel of fortune.
W&M Levsha charted his entire journey in the YouTube video above, showing what it takes to make this portable one-of-a-kind ornament. The entire thing is made from solid brass, with a combination of CNC machining, lathe machining, laser cutting, laser etching, and sanding/polishing by hand. The product is then assembled with the inner mechanism being activated using a spring-loaded plunger system. The result is something wonderfully vintage with a novel, steampunk-like appeal. It’s just as randomized as actually throwing dice, given that you can never tell what number the rotating disc will stop at.
Designer: W&M Levsha
Mechanical dice have been around for a long time, but haven’t really gained much popularity over their original gravity-based counterparts. Relegated to pretty much being a quirky novelty item, they’re still pretty cool to look at and even cooler to use.
On the outside, the mechanical dice is an absolute beauty to look at. It features engravings on both the front as well as the back, making it something your eyes won’t be able to look away from. Both the engravings were done using laser machines, resulting in a kind of perfection that you’d see from top-notch craftsmanship in the 17th-18th century.
The mechanism on the inside is pretty fascinating, featuring a flat tension spring that gets the disc spinning when the plunger is lowered, and causes it to immediately stop when the plunger is released. A well-oiled ball-bearing set gets the disc to spin effortlessly, creating a high speed that makes it difficult to ‘game the system’.
The result is a mechanical medallion that’s perfect for vintage-style dice-based games. Although W&M Levsha isn’t producing this at mass scale (so you can’t buy one), the entire process video is incredibly fascinating if you’re into tinkering and DIY. It also demystifies the process if you’ve got the equipment and materials (and willpower) to make a mechanical dice of your own! If not, you can try snagging a Demley Auto Dice spinner from the 1920s that has not one, but two spinning dice discs!