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Techno Bowl: Arcade Football Unplugged» Forums » General

Subject: Pixel Block Players - Construction Tips rss

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Jeffrey Lower
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I am excited to begin making my pixel block players. I have my blocks and I have the Pixel Pack. But before I get going, I want to make sure that I step off on the right foot.

Are there any tips that I should know about before I begin?

For instance, I've read that Brent was able to make 20 teams in one night. I'd like to know his step-by-step process for doing it. I've never used Mod Podge before so I don't know the best way to apply it. Foam brush? Small paintbrush? Do you color the edges of the block before you begin? What about the bottom of the block? How many coats of Mod Podge to finish the varnishing?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Pat Johnston
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Any recommendations to purchasing blocks as well? I assume Amazon has them, but wondered if anyone has found a deal...how many will we need for all teams?
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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hawkeyept wrote:
how many will we need for all teams?
8 blocks per team, 256 total (if you don't want multiple color schemes of any team). Drop that to 7 blocks per team if you're sure you won't want to use the 8-on-8 modes.
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Rob Koch
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A single Redwood tree cut into cubes should suffice to create enough blocks for all teams and alternate lineups.

I got my cubes as Michaels (using 50% off coupon).. about $2.25 w/ tax (in groups of 24).

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Jeffrey Lower
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Yep. It's hard to beat Michael's price with the 50% off coupon.

Okay... now, what about those tips for making them? Thanks in advance!
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Rob Koch
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I use a sharpie to blacked the edges about 1/4 inch in from each edge. I then use a slight brush of Mod Podge as adhesive and stick on each face. Once those are dry I use a foam brush to stipple on more Mod Podge as a sealant. I then use a little Baby powder to remove any residual stickiness.

NOTE: I used my custom players and cut each face as a separate item to stick on. I have not tried this with the official ones yet as I haven't been able to get my internet connection to behave long enough.

I also have a helmet icon I apply to the bottom of every player as well so I have 6 faces covered.

I can try to document it with pictures if you like.
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Allen Herring
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robkoch2112 wrote:
Once those are dry I use a foam brush to stipple on more Mod Podge as a sealant.


Stipple? Please explain.

robkoch2112 wrote:
I can try to document it with pictures if you like.

Can't speak for the OP but I would appreciate it!
 
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Rob Koch
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Stipple: a tapping action. It leaves a small rough effect.


Also, I print on Cardstock with a laser printer.... I will try to work up a series of photos of the steps this weekend with a write-up.

To use the ones as provided is fairly easy too. Cut with a blade and fold over the block after applying some kind of adhesive.

I'll start a new thread and link over to it.
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Brent Spivey
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SquadPainter wrote:
Are there any tips that I should know about before I begin?

Rob covered most everything. Some extras:

- I first apply Modge Podge [Matte Finish] to the top of the cube only, make sure it's lined and 'pre-fold' the sides down.
- I then apply it to the sides. You don't need much, but I use a fairly generous amount. This allows the paper to fuse with the wood.
- I've used both a brush and a sponge for the final coat. No real preference, it just depends on my mood.
- If you end up with too much texture or uneven thickness, you can always sand the surface after the Modge Podge has dried/cured.

This site has a good deal on bulk .75 inch wooden cubes:
http://www.craftparts.com/wooden-blocks-cubes-p-2622.html?ca...

Precutting all of the pixel block players out is a good idea. A hobby/Exacto knife, metal ruler, and cutting surface will make the process go much faster!
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Jeffrey Lower
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Brent & Rob,

Thank you both very much for your tips. I appreciate them!

I'm going to tackle making my Pixel Block Players this weekend. My inkjet printer makes nice, vivid printouts on Canon Matte Photo Paper. I'm going to start with that and see how it goes.

Maybe I'll post some pix of them after I do a few.

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Jeffrey Lower
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TIP: Do a test print in black and white on cheap paper to check that everything fits properly.

I found out that my blocks are a little shy of 0.75", so I had to set my printer to 98%. Unfortunately I had already wasted 2 sheets of photo paper by then. blush

Once I did that everything fit the way that it should. Then I started printing on my nice paper (Canon Photo Matte).
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Jeffrey Lower
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Here is my first attempt making the Pixel Block Players. As a Char-, er, Volts fan, I decided to make my first team a conference opponent: the Bighorns!

Here I have gathered my equipment



Next I cut out my test player, scored the edges, blackened them with pen, and prepped the block with black Sharpie on the wood edges.



Here is the first block with the Mod Podge affixing the top. It is easy to align the block if you score and pre-fold the sides.



Finally I had my test block finished (sans varnish). I thought it turned out pretty well!



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Rob Koch
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Nice looking!
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Stephen Rochelle
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I'm particularly curious about the inkjet and choice of paper. Did you need some sort of sealer over the ink before applying the Mod Podge? Did the weight of the photo paper seem to affect how well it stuck to the block vs using something lighter?
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Brent Spivey
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lomn wrote:
Did the weight of the photo paper seem to affect how well it stuck to the block vs using something lighter?

I'll let Jeffrey answer the questions, but I thought I'd chime in on this point. Both I and my playtesters have used paper of varying quality and thickness, and all of them have stuck to blocks really well. The sealant layer provides a nice finish and makes the pixel players bulletproof [slight exaggeration].
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Rob Koch
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I use 110lb card stock and a laser printer which has a heavy weight paper setting... if you don't do this the ink will flake off when cutting (I learned the hard way).
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Jeffrey Lower
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lomn wrote:
I'm particularly curious about the inkjet and choice of paper. Did you need some sort of sealer over the ink before applying the Mod Podge? Did the weight of the photo paper seem to affect how well it stuck to the block vs using something lighter?


I used a Canon Inkjet printer along with Canon Matte Photo paper. When I printed I chose 98% scaling with the paper/quality set to "Photo Paper - Matte" and "Standard quality".

I scored the folds with the back of my xacto blade before folding. When I glued with the Mod Podge there wasn't too much trouble making the sides stick. As I'd work my way around the cube maybe a corner would lift a bit, but then I'd just push it back down. The Mod Podge is pretty tacky and dries quickly. I'd work on the next cube and when it was done I'd go back to the previous and give it even pressure on all sides, just to be sure.

As for sealing, I found that I did NOT have to spray the paper with an acrylic sealer before applying the Mod Podge as a sealer/varnish. The ink did NOT run. Now, I didn't go over it a bunch and scrub it with a brush. I just laid a thin coat Mod Podge down and let it set.

TIP: I used a brush dampened with water to smooth the Mod Podge right after I applied it as a varnish.

I hope that answers your question. Feel free to ask any more questions that you'd like and I'll do my best to answer them.
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Jeffrey Lower
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lomn wrote:
I'm particularly curious about the inkjet and choice of paper. Did you need some sort of sealer over the ink before applying the Mod Podge?


I almost forgot to mention this tip: If you want to practice varnishing, but are cheap like me and don't want to waste paper, practice varnish techniques on the team name that appears at the top of each sheet.

That way you won't ruin a player and waste a print out. Depending on the length of the team name, you can try out a few techniques to get your process sorted out.
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Stephen Rochelle
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I'm trying mine with full-sheet label paper (I've got a bunch on hand for wargame counter construction) which I'll follow up with spray sealant and mod podge when temps rise a bit in a few days. The label sheet has the edge of letting me just center the block on the number and then rolling to fix the player sides - no slipping.


One thing people might consider is dyeing the blocks black or dark green rather than using a permanent marker on the edges. It's a good option if you want a more finished look on the bottom of the blocks.

One extra thing: my printer is being fussy and gets a bit tired at the end of a page, and the color density is a bit off there. The effect is that the feet of one facing of the players at the bottom of the page is slightly faded / yellowed. It's the sort of thing that no one else is likely to notice, but I know it's there. If your printer does the same sort of thing, you can fix it by rotating the page 180° to put the team name, not a player, at the faded end of the page.
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Brent Spivey
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That's a clever idea, and those look slick!
 
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Jeffrey Lower
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lomn wrote:
I'm trying mine with full-sheet label paper (I've got a bunch on hand for wargame counter construction) which I'll follow up with spray sealant and mod podge when temps rise a bit in a few days. The label sheet has the edge of letting me just center the block on the number and then rolling to fix the player sides - no slipping.


Those look really good! I also have a lot of sticker paper that I used for wargaming counters in the past (I'm looking at you, Up Front) and I thought about going that route, but I found that my blocks were not entirely uniform in size, so having the ability to slide my printout around with the Mod Podge and fiddle with the placement works better for me.

In regards to the bottom of the cube, I've given it some thought and I think that what I would really like to have... is just some blank grass: basically, the background art without the player on it!

I'm actually building up my nerve to ask Brent for a file (assuming it wouldn't be much trouble) as opposed to my having to screen-shot, cut-mirror-repeat, etc.

I think that would finish off my cubes nicely.


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Brent Spivey
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lomn wrote:

That's an interesting offensive set you have there. No great for long passes [a tough to sack QB option though], but I really like the running options it creates for Danders!

- punch it straight ahead
- lead block with #39 and make a read
- squeeze play in between #58 and #39 either as a standard run or in response to an outside blitz
- counter play [using an adjustment with either #65 or #61] that you can keep tight off-tackle or bounce outside

The running threats make your passing options even more interesting.

Aside from some of the obvious routes, releasing #58 late in the play [card 4 maybe] on an out pattern towards the sideline could be really effective if Danders moves to the left side of the field like he's setting up for a screen pass or running a wheel route. You could even use an adjustment with Danders to break #58 off the line and use his cards for running after the catch. Lots of possibilities there!
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Brent Spivey
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SquadPainter wrote:
In regards to the bottom of the cube, I've given it some thought and I think that what I would really like to have... is just some blank grass: basically, the background art without the player on it!

I'm actually building up my nerve to ask Brent for a file (assuming it wouldn't be much trouble) as opposed to my having to screen-shot, cut-mirror-repeat, etc.

I think that would finish off my cubes nicely.

I just made them! I'll be uploading them in the next update.
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Rob Koch
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For the bottom of mine I made a small image of the helmet and the team name... I'll upload an image later today.... No more guessing the team by color!
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Rob Koch
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Here's a pic of players from the 3 teams I have made so far:



Sorry about the quality, but it shows that I covered all 6 faces.

You can also sort of make out the stipple effect I used on the outer layer of Mod Podge.

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