Knucklebone Dice

by MishaT, published

Knucklebone Dice by MishaT Sep 26, 2015

Design Tools



Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag

Thing Statistics

6108Views 1049Downloads Found in Dice


Knuckle bones, also known as Shagai to the Mongolians, Astrogaloi to the ancient Greeks, and Tali to the Romans, were made from the knuckle bones of hooved animals and were used for games of chance, skill, and divination. This oldest known form of dice was played all accross the ancient world, in medieval Europe, and is still played in parts of central Asia.  

There are as many ways to play as there were cultures that used them. The basic concept is the same throughout.  Each bone can land on one of four unique sides, with unequal probability. Print four copies for Roman rules, more or less as needed for other games. See this article on Roman Board Games for the Roman rules. For a comprehensive history and rules of many games played with knucklebones, see the Wikipedia entryThis paper by Jenna Mortensen is a great summary of how these bones were used for divination.


Images are of a strong and flexible laser sintered version, which feels and bounces just like real bone. Video description here: https://youtu.be/I7cBvwAvyIo Available from my Shapeways store: http://shpws.me/Kd2v

Print Settings


Doesn't Matter



How I Designed This

Design Source

The bone model is a 3D scan of a real sheep tali which I ordered from a fur and bone store and had to figure out how to clean, bleach, and preserve.

More from Dice

view more

All Apps

Auto-magically prepare your 3D models for 3D printing. A cloud based 3D models Preparing and Healing solution for 3D Printing, MakePrintable provides features for model repairing, wall thickness...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

With 3D Slash, you can edit 3d models like a stonecutter. A unique interface: as fun as a building game! The perfect tool for non-designers and children to create in 3D.

App Info Launch App

Thank you so much for sharing your models. I wrote a lesson plan and blog post featuring your work.

That is super cool!

Awesome.. I want them.. How can i buy a set of Knucklebone dices

Thanks! If you don't have your own printer, or a friend with a printer you can buy them on my Shapeways store printed in nylon.


Awesome! I've always wanted to have some of these as RPG dice, thanks for the design! I just recently got Push Plastic's 'earth tones' PLA set, and the desert tan makes an awesome bone color. :D

A shame not that many games use D4s anymore. I wonder what modifications I could make to make them reliably 6-sided while still retaining as much of their unique look as possible... (There are fake 'knucklebone' 6-sided RPG dice, but they're little more than cubes with concave faces and pointy corners. Kinda lame.)

Thanks! Enjoy and please post a pic of the finished thing!