Catan Dice Roller - Press a Button and watch it "Glow"!


My buddies and I were playing Catan last week. While rolling dice, they kept on roll all over the cities / roads / game pieces, and off the table, which drove us all insane.

In that moment, I knew it my mission to remedy this.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you… an Automatic Catan Dice Roller!


Pretty self explanatory: press the middle button, and see the dice roll with awesome animation!

But wait - something is bound to happen when a “7” is rolled…
All lights light up with awesome animation, including the middle button that you just pressed! (What is this wizardry??!?)

Here’s the video of it in action:

How it works:

Dice rolls are random and accurate to actual percentage of getting the roll on two, fair sided dice:
Arduino generates 2 random numbers from range 1 - 6 with random (or as random as a computer can get) probability, and add them together to get the sum.

Animation (cuz we need that!) starts, signifying a roll of dice!

Depending on what the random number is, the LED of sum-of-2-random-numbers would light up.
All players with cities / settlements on tiles with rolled number without robber will then receive resources, trades happen, build stuff, and repeat.

If a “7” is rolled instead… something cool happens :slight_smile: (Watch video til the end)

How it’s made:

I’ve attached all SVG’s and Arduino code, sufficient enough to make your own!

Other materials you’ll need:

1x Arduino Nano (fits nicely into the shape of a Catan tile)
10 x LED lights (colors to be determined by YOU!)
11X resistors (they can all be 1k ohms, but I’ve decreased some of them to 220 ohms so some LED’s are brighter. 1 resistor is for the button acting as digital input)
1x light-up button
“Some”: wires, connectors, mating connectors, prototyping board, M3 screws and spacers.
“Some”: Glowforge proofgrade (or equiv) materials

Other tools:
Screw driver, laptop for programming, clamps, Elmer’s Glue (YES, I USED GLUE IN THIS PROJECT! Let’s continue…).

And possibly a dog or two to keep you company while you’re putting your creativity to work:

And last but not least: a Glowforge to cut the materials!

Before we go any further, follow me on Instagram @salocinah321
I’ll be posting more and more as I find more time outside of work :open_mouth:

Here’s the picture of LED button into face, with soldered resistors / mating connectors ready for the LED lights.


Here’s the other side of the board!

This looks like a spider or octopus (or decopus, since it has 10 wires coming out), but I guarantee you that it’s just the front face with LED’s, with wires soldered onto each leg.

Installing the board into the laser cut pieces… Felt like legos!

Testing connection of LED’s with board:

Last but not least, clamp them all together overnight for glue to dry.

Here’s the SVG for the body. You will need to add more to create the entire body, and change the sizes / locations / stuff to use based on your prototyping board, your soldering locations, etc etc. Be creative on Inkscape! Red / Orange = cut. Blue = score. Everything in the middle is… I forgot! Print one and you’ll know :stuck_out_tongue:


Here’s the SVG for the face.

Here are the arduino codes:

Catan Dice Roller Code for Arduino.docx (13.2 KB)

Final notes and how I would make it differently next time:

  • This project is meant as a guideline of how to make yours, but not the exact one. I have not specified what prototyping board // connectors to use (I don’t even know what brand they are!), so you’ll just have to find your own and do some measurements, and put it all in Inkscape or whatever svg editor you fancy!
  • The height of this “thing” is kind of high. My next prototype (if I ever make another one) would be to minimize the height by using different electronics.
  • This is currently USB powered. Making it battery powered would be pretty cool.
  • Maybe add a window on the side so players can look into all the wiring and guts!
  • Add a mini speaker to output “click click click” noise when dice is “rolled”.

And that’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed it, and let me know if you have any questions.





I am very happy to have posted my work here, and have gotten a lot of great feedback.

In particular, I’d like to give a huge SHOUTOUT to @evansd2 (Dave) for taking time in reviewing my codes and providing feedback and corrections! The previous codes I’ve uploaded seemed “good enough”, but it was actually NOT! The randomness seemed random, but will give the same numbers once you power cycle the unit! So it went 8, 8, 5, 7, 4, 9, 2, 5, etc… and when you power cycle, it goes 8, 8, 5, 7, 4, 9, 2, 5, etc… again!!! What an “a-ha” moment!

I’ve uploaded Dave’s changes (huge upgrade) here:
Catan_notes_and_changes.docx (15.9 KB)

I’ve kept the old codes here if anyone wants to look at both versions and compare the 2. It’s like day and night. Thanks again, Dave!


Well, that is just awesomely cool! :grinning:

Got a bit of bad news though - referral links posted here are disqualified (because like you said, everyone has one) and Dan has asked that we not post them here. If you click the little pencil icon down at the bottom of your post, you can edit that out, so he won’t have to.

Looking forward to seeing the next project. That’s one heck of a “dice tower”.


Thanks, Jules!! Always appreciate your feedback! Referral link removed :slight_smile:


Awesome project! Thanks for the codes and files.


Excellent writeup.


Thank you for all this info.


Wait up Nick…was that referral link a part of your Youtube video description? (Because I think linking to the video here is perfectly okay and and highly encouraged…you can legit use them in the description for the vid, and will no doubt pick up a wad of referrals with that little device.)

(My apologies, I thought you had just posted the referral link directly here. You can actually re-add that video link here.)


Great write up, and such a fun project. Thank you for sharing.


Very cool … Awesome write-up!


Great project, and awesome of you to share! You should put a post over in the Free Files area to point people to it here, or else move it over there so folks looking for files will find it. :slight_smile:


Hi Jules, nope! I literally pasted the referral link into the post, so I deleted it :slight_smile: the link is in the vid description as well, so I’ll keep that one up!


I think those connectors are what are known in the US as JST connectors. They are often used for stepper motors and are one line of the huge range of Japan Solderless Terminal Mfg. Co. products. Those are 2.54 mm pitch two wire latching connectors. You can get them from most electronics components distributors.
Get yourself some heat shrink to cover your solder joints! it will clean it up and make life so much easier since you don’t have to worry about crossing wires.
To reduce complexity and volume, you can combine your grounds on the LED plate, connecting the LED grounds together and running only one wire for ground instead of two wires per LED.
I would look at a Feather board from Adafruit. Couple that with their NeoPixels and you could do even more with the animation, plus you have battery management built in, and can add a power switch easily.
If you wanted to take it a level higher, I would do a custom PCB with the LEDs on one side and the brains on the other. OSHPark would do the PCB for about what you would end up spending in time to solder it all together manually. Then you could even go further and switch to surface mount LEDs under an acrylic lens. Maybe one of the fancy color-on-clear versions from Inventables.


I say it again, “we need a WOW button!”
nice work!


Very nice work. Have been thinking about making a circuit board vise and this design looks excellent. And wanting to do the Catan board some time.

It seems all the cool folks are making custom PCBs and this would be a good one to start out on.

Thanks for such a detailed share and for all the files.


What a marvelous project! :star_struck:
That detailed write up (including the picture of you and your pups) beginning with the inspiration for the journey, and the video make this post one of the best I’ve seen across the years I’ve been here!
Including the files is a cherry on top. :sunglasses:
Nothing short of Awesome! Thank you Sir :heart_eyes:


Thanks for the feedback! :slight_smile:

Awww that’s great to hear, and glad you enjoyed it! I had so much fun making this, and even more fun sharing it with you all :blush:

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Hmm, kind of hard to justify the build unless it’s for fun. These types of clamps are about $10.

I got this one back in 2016.:

It’s pretty good, some plastic parts that I wish were metal for longevity, but it’s still going strong with no issues.


Yes, I got that same one and would definitely recommend it as well.


Precisely. If I had to pay myself for designing and producing, wouldn’t be worth it in time. but the more I design, the faster I get. I have lots of salvaged materials and fasteners, so yeah, it would be worth it to make for me. Maybe the word “fun” is not the payoff I am thinking about. Satisfaction or rewarding.