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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Making gaffed dice (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cliff Rusnick
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Hello, I'm the DIYer type person. I like to collect knowledge and items on all things magic and gambling. I've been trying to source some Ts for a while now, losing some auctions on ebay since the import charges/shipping to canada wind up making me have to pay $60+ for a pair of dice. if I were to actually be using these in games, that wouldn't be a problem, however I just like to have these things in my collection, or to mess around with. I don't have the budget to justify wasting that much, or more on some dice. (i'm aware gambling collectables sells them for cheaper, but still not far off from my estimate)

there's also something to say about the sense of accomplishment when you finally make something that's considered a challenge, and I'm all about this. I love making things on my own, or figuring them out on my own. but I need to start somewhere.

i have a pound of scrap dice I was using to practice making shapes and other gaffed dice, but I've been growing curious as to how Ts are actually made. are they made from scratch from blank dice? or modified somehow?

everywhere I look, I often run into someone saying making gaffed dice is a lost art, however this is no mystery as I have never seen or heard mentioned anywhere in detail of how they're made, or even sources for learning. the information is either scarce, or non existent.. or I just don't know where/what to look for. are there any books or sources that teach in depth how to make these types of gaffed dice?
i have scarne on dice, but haven't made it all the way through the cheating sections yet. (i have seen the list of items used to make the gaffs however, but it seems somewhat outdated) and I'm assuming it wouldn't go as in depth as I would need.
is there a special jig used for this process? 5 special drill bits that are used to drill all pips at once? I have so many questions with nowhere to find any answers.

can anyone point me in any direction to detailed information on making Ts? does it even exist or is it all taught by word of mouth?

can someone throw me a bone here?
i'd love to know of a source to buy blank casino perfects if possible, as well as if such a thing exists.

thanks.
chappy
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Cliff, here's my two cents.

From what you've said, it's my opinion you'll get further, faster by buying several different professionally gaffed dice to study first. In the long term, I doubt it'll be any less expensive than exploring DIY solutions, and it will give you a benchmark for quality at the high end of what can be done in gaffing. While rudimentary gaffs can be made with a little experimentation, properly gaffed dice require a lot of knowledge and the right equipment.

It's a fun road whichever way you go.
DETAILS OF DECEPTION at www.thedevilsstaircase.com
ImpromptuBoy
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Hey Cliff, I think for obvious reasons, people who make these types of products are tight lipped about their procedures. Logic dictates that you gotta start with a blank die, drill the spots, and fill them. That's strictly my opinion. If you want to know how to make them, you gotta know certain people LOL. I doubt this sort of explanation is available to the general public.
Having said that, if you're in Canada (I'm from Toronto), and you're at all interested, check out my pal in Montreal, Steph Lac, at Slim Card Co., his specialty is making gaffed playing cards, and he makes dice as well. I bought a few Ts and loads from him, and they're super good quality. I doubt he'll reveal any secrets, but if you're interested in acquiring good quality equipment, check out his website: https://www.slimcardco.com

In terms of finding out more info about making them, the best places you could find that might be in Scarne on Dice, I don't have a copy, so I suggest you look through yours. Casino Game protection by Steve Forte might discuss certain types of dice, but again, not too sure if he gets into specifics into how they're made. If no luck, do research on google. Never know what kind of information might turn up.

Hope this helps!

Mor
Cliff Rusnick
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Thanks for the replies!

chappy, I've sent you an email regarding your pm.

impromptuboy

thanks for the link! I would be interested in picking up some Ts from slim card co, I will browse the site when I have more time.

i am slowly making my way through scarne on dice. hopefully there will be more in there about the process of making them, but I don't think he will go into detail of what type of equipment I would need.

i have been googling like a mad man, but unfortunately, google doesn't let you get as specific as it used to. even searching for "how dice are made" turns up little results, and is mostly regarding regular old... game board dice basically, which are just injection molded. so not much help there.

as I feared, I thought you would have to know someone to gain knowledge on this type of thing, which is unfortunate as it is more difficult for those with the drive and passion in this field to start experimentation. (especially when they are not the social type to try and network with those in the know)

regardless, thanks for the info you guys have provided!
ImpromptuBoy
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Cliff, definitely check out Slim Card Co.

Not sure if you came across this article already: https://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea......of-dice/

Bottom of the article reads: Gambling Scams by Darwin Ortiz is an authoritative text on these and related scams; Dealing With Cheats by A.D. Livingston actually features illustrations of some gaffed dice and instructions for making them. The definitive work on con games in general and the life of the con artist is The Big Con by David Maurer, which has been used as a source for movies such as House of Games, among others. Magic stores can supply books and DVDs that explain some gambling fakery, although these tend to focus mainly on sleight of hand with cards. Steve Forte is one expert who has released books and DVDs that demonstrate a wide range of extremely skilled cheating moves with cards, and the same goes for the aforementioned Darwin Ortiz.

Here's one link for 'dealing with cheats' book: https://www.amazon.com/Dealing-Cheats-Il......97009860

This is a never ending quest. Maybe you can be the next Dai Vernon, running across the entire globe trying to find all these hustlers, and discover their methods LOL.

Good luck!

Mor
JasonEngland
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Historically gaffed dice were made on the same machines (and by the same companies and people) as legitimate dice. That makes it difficult, though certainly not impossible to make casino-quality gaffs if you don't have the proper equipment to make the squares. I've heard of people doing it and having decent success with it, but the best gaffed casino-style dice will always be made on proper machines.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
Cliff Rusnick
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Impromptuboy,
i just received dealing with cheats in the mail two weeks ago! I had not seen that article before or knew that the book mentioned the making of dice gaffs. I had just skimmed across the dice chapters quickly to see the illustrations, then began reading from front to back, so I haven't gotten to the dice section yet. (maybe I should have just skipped to the chapters regarding the information I want to know about in both the books I mention lol) thanks for the tip here, I will probably skip ahead and read the specific dice chapters in this book.
as for being the next Dai Vernon, I would say that I usually go the opposite direction. stay as isolated as possible and come up with my own ideas based on any information I find lol.

Jason,
thanks for the reply. am I to understand that those who make their own gaffs without the proper machinery also cut their own cubes? does this mean that there is no real source for blanks other than the odd scrap dice lot on ebay or gaffer selling their own blanks?




As a general question, (and feel free to let me know if I should edit this post to remove this speculative method I am about to mention) I put forth a possible method for making Ts that someone could maybe tell me if they *know* would work or not (mostly if it wouldn't work so I don't waste my time).

i have a 3d printer; if, say I were to start with blank cubes, and were to build a rig that could hold 1 to 6 soldering irons in a precise orientation with modified flat tips, hold the cube in a center position, and mount it all to a dremel drill press rig I have, could I then melt the pip holes into the die and finish the cube off with regular plexiglass/plastic finishing techniques like fine sanding and buffing? of course I would fill the holes with either some type of lucite/plexiglass dowel or paint.. whichever works better; but the main question being: would a precision rig that melted holes in these dice work on any level? (i would also try some method of heating the entire die before putting the inlay in so that when cooled, it stays in place better)
JasonEngland
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Cliff,

The plastic (celluloid acetate) these days that they use is sold in "sheets" usually. They typically run about an inch thick, a few inches wide and several inches long. The rough cubes are cut from those sheets, then sanded down to the proper size, drilled, filled and re-sanded until the spots are smooth. Then they're usually polished until they're perfectly transparent. If a logo is applied, it usually goes on before a final very mild polishing step that cleans up the rough logo.

There's certainly more to it than that, but those are the basic steps.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
Gamblingman007
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I’m new to this forum but Cliff you want all of this information for nothing and just for the asking. Please answer this question for me. Let me give you a little bit of information that will help you out. The books that you mentioned regarding dice or the making of gaffed dice will not help you make T’s or anything else. Scarne’s information is lacking in this particular area because just like you, why would someone just teach him the specifics to this just for the asking.

You said that you wish that someone would throw you a bone, how much are you willing to pay for this bone. PM me so that we can chat or continue your search which will eventually lead you to a dead end.

The Gambling Man
Cliff Rusnick
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Thanks Jason, for the insight into the basic process of making dice. it has clarified a couple of things for me. I have found a common source for cellulose acetate strips, but not exactly in dice colours, so I will continue my search for this.


Gamblingman007, your reply makes it seem like I was asking for someone on the forums here to tell me directly how Ts were made. I feel like I asked few questions other than if sources for learning existed and if I needed blank cubes to start experimenting. your wording sounds a little harsh for what I was asking for in reality. how else would I ask for any information on the subject without triggering a response such as yours? I only said "throw me a bone" as in I wanted someone to point me in a direction... any direction.

I will send you a pm, but I feel that you are expecting me to act upon this as if I live in the hustling world, looking for the secrets so I too can make the money. however that's the opposite of what I am. I am a hobbyist that practices many disciplines for extensive hours and likes to expand his knowledge on subjects of interest as much as I can. I like the search for knowledge, but sometimes you have to ask people for a jumping off point.

if you are expecting me to pay $1000s for information, I appreciate your offer, but it's not something I could do as I am not a hustler and will not be making that money back based on the knowledge you would give me.
Mr. Bones
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I've got some beautiful hand cut and handmade loads by Malcolm Farley from New York. They're great to have, but anybody knowledgable about gaffing dice would be able to tell that they were made by hand (and thus probably gaffed).

You can use new precision casino dice that are easily picked up off eBay, depending on what you're gaffing efforts are going to be focused on.
For example, I put the edge work into the whip-dice I make by starting off with brand new finished factory cubes, so they're always quite deceptive. The cutting and polishing is already done when I start putting the edge work in.

You can also use a dice drilling jig to mill out factory blanks to make T's- or you can mill out finished factory casino dice to make loads (note that I said "mill", not "drill" as in an end-mill).

But as Jason notes above, you should try to work with factory cut and polished dice, and the appropriate jig for whatever it is you're trying to do - if you want see success in crafting a deceptive cube.

This isn't brain surgery though, so don't overthink it. A typical dice jig for loads or T's is ultimately a plate with five holes in it and a few hinges and flaps. I'm not going to draw it out for you - but it's not hard to take a bit of information and run with it.
You're not going to make a precision dice edger for planing whip-dice at your typical home shop - but you can certainly craft up a jig to mill a few evenly spaced holes in a small cube.


Here's a few links to peruse:

https://sherline.com (if not this, then something like this)
http://www.antiquegamblingchips.com/DiceMisc.htm. (third picture down for whip-dice)
https://www.martinka.com/martinka/auctio......ID=15293 (the book you want is on top of this pile).
Mr. Bones
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Cliff Rusnick
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Thanks for the reply Mr.Bones,
my progress with learning about dice gaffing has progressed quite a bit already since first posting this thread.

I have plenty of precision dice to practice on and have made crude bevels in the past with a concave sanding block I made, however edge work and shapes aren't my primary focus.
i have seen pictures of dice edgers many times in the past and considered 3d printing something similar if I could get around to it (except the bit for shaving of course) but it would be a rather long print and use up a lot of material... as I said though, shapes and edge work wasn't my main focus.

i was primarily interested in making Ts but sourcing cellulose acetate is a little tough. if you or anyone else reading this has any sources for factory blanks, even sold by other gaffers, I would love to hear about them. I have found plenty of acetate sheets or rectangular blanks, but either the colour isn't right or the sheets are too thin. I am still searching.

i have seen a few pictures of dice making rigs, and none of them used a jig as I thought, but I might try a combination of the two methods, jig, and the other method which I saw, as well as testing a 3rd method which I'm thinking could also be possible. I see how a milling machine would be easier to mount the die in place, however the other method I saw seems that it would work just as well.

thanks for the tip about milling, however the pictures of rigs I have seen didn't seem to use a milling machine or milling bits. I have a picture of the bits used and I think they might be a little more obtainable for me. I will probably try using them for my tests as it doesn't require the purchase of an entirely new machine. if that doesn't work, I will consider looking into milling bits.

thank you for the links, I do have the book you referenced on dice gaffing. I have seen most of the pictures before in other books or articles, but I did learn about a couple of gaffs I didn't know about previously.

i realize that as my setup goes right now, if I want to start experimenting with any kinds of gaffs, I will probably have to try making loads. I had not considered them before, but am heavily (pun) considering it now... I have even sourced a type of metal I had not heard of referenced in any material regarding loads, that is very inexpensive, readily available, is non toxic and has an almost identical density to mercury. I will hopefully pick some of this up soon and begin experimenting.

thanks for your input Mr.Bones!
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