3D printing has been out for a few years at this point and anyone that owns one knows how fun it is to create your stuff. The art of 3D printing is still mostly limited to enthusiasts but the community is growing and lots of interesting things are being made by normal people.
If you are into gambling, then you may have been wondering whether or not you can create your own slot machine with a 3D printer. This is what we aim to uncover in this article and what challenges you might face along the way.
Basic Components of a Slot Machine
At its core, the slot machine is a relatively simple machine with few vital parts. Basically, you would need three reels, a pull level, the body of the machine, and a few gears to make it all move. All of these could be made and put together by hand using glue and cardboard but that is not the point of the article. At this point, you have a basic fruit machine at your disposal and you can do what you want with it. For example, adding lights and sounds for the aesthetic effects would be a good idea.
However, this is where things also get tricky. The more complicated your project, the more parts you would need to create. The payout mechanism could be an issue, especially if you want the game to be fully mechanical. If you wish to have a jackpot feature then that presents issues of its own.
What you need to take away from this is that a classic machine is not too difficult to create, as long as you know what you are doing. For a better overview of 3D printing technologies, check out this article.
Physical Limitations of Slots
The thing about creating a slot machine is that you may be expecting a modern game. Slots have come a long way over the last 100 years and there are few physical machines to go by. Ever since the 1980s, slots have shifted from physical reels to virtual ones. Nowadays, a slot machine is a computer with a high-resolution screen and speakers. That is fine but if you are going by the modern games and wish to recreate them with your 3D printer, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
What do we mean? A modern slot game has a ridiculously high number of possible combinations, symbols and special symbols. The only reason all of it works together is that it is processed by computers. Theoretically, a reel on a video slot can have up to 256 symbols on it. By comparison, the most symbols you can put on a physical reel without making the whole thing too bulky is 10 or 20.
This automatically limits the number of possible combinations up to 8,000 assuming we have 20 symbols per reel and three reels in total. As for the special features, such as Wild and Scatter symbols, free spins, etc., these are downright out of the question unless you use some type of microprocessor. Naturally, this creates different problems down the line and makes the whole thing even more complicated.
The deeper we get into slots, the more we see just how complex and intricate modern games are. Creating one solely out of mechanical parts would not be feasible unless you want the most basic of fruit machines. Which is a far cry from the typical 3D slots available online.
The Real Challenge in 3D Printing a Slot Machine
Creating a slot game with a 3D printer is not a complicated thing. After all, the printer creates all the parts and you only need to assemble the thing. The real issue comes in getting your hands on the schematics of a game so that the printer knows what to make. If you are familiar with 3D printing, then you know how precise and detailed the measurements need to be. Unless you design the machine yourself, you would have a difficult time finding the required schematic.
Vegas guards its secrets well and game manufacturers hold on tight to theirs, as well. Getting a design from either will be a difficult thing to do. The best you can realistically hope for is for someone to draw up the schematics for you or to take a crack at it yourself. To gain some perspective, you can check out these 3D casino games models.