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Subject: Puzzle Strike insert rss

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Kevin Jonas

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Puzzle Strike is my favorite game. With the standalone expansion Shadows and promos there's quite a bit of content to organize. It is a deck builder that uses poker chips instead of cards.

Here is the foam core insert I made for it. This was my first insert I ever made. I made it on the fly. I did not measure anything ahead of time. My goal for inserts is to organize and help with setup and cleanup. Also it needs to transport and store vertically. I don't really care about looks.

I decided to get in on the Glowforge laser cutter Kickstarter over 2 years ago. So, being excited for the release I decided to design a new insert for Puzzle Strike. I figured this would be a good way to learn CAD software and how to get files ready for a laser cutter.

Also, I figured this needed a redesign. Since the wood is a 1/16" of an inch thinner than the foam core I used it means there would be more room. I could fit all the bank chips in the bottom tray.

I decided to use Sketchup because it was really simple to learn. However, getting from Sketchup to a PDF that a laser cutter can recognize is not simple. More on that later. Here's the design I came up with. It took about 3 hours to come up with the majority of the design. Then a couple hours of fine tuning.

The idea of this design is the top tray holds the player boards and blinds, along with the characters chips in that pyramid tray. The bottom is split into two trays.

The smaller bottom tray holds the chips that are in every game. This is its own tray so it can be removed and set on the table to remove chips from it as needed. The larger one holds the rest of the puzzle chips, 51 unique chips, 5 of each. You play with 10 of those every game so you only need access to this tray once during setup. In addition to that providing variability there are 20 characters with 3 chips each. This is an asymmetrical deck builder. Players have different starting hands because of the characters.

For the characters I made that pyramid tray. When you get the promo pack with the randomizer cards it comes with a strategy guide. In strategy guide is a triangle that represents the styles of the characters. The styles are Rushdown (fast offense) beats Economy beats Defense Beats Rushdown. Where the character sits in the triangle tells you the general style of that character.

The reason I decided to mimic this was to make it easier to locate a character and it looks cool. If you want a particular style grab the character from that area of the triangle. Or you can use the randomizer cards to randomly select a character. Then use the strategy guide index to find the character's page. The heading of that page will indicate where in the triangle that character is. Also you will have a table of chips that the character likes and dislikes. My groups drafts chips so this comes in handy for quick setup.

Well, the Glowforge was suppose to ship over 2 years ago. It kept getting pushed off. It just started shipping this month. I cancelled my Kickstarter a year ago. I finally decided that since I have this insert designed I would get it made. I used the website to make it. I decided to use clear acrylic because it is cheaper than wood and it would make it easier to see the chips.

Now after I made it I would probably make the top tray, bases, and outside walls out of wood. Acrylic is a bit fragile on it's own. but once all glued together it is fairly strong.

Here's pics of the final product. I have since used magnets to hold the triangle lid on instead of a rubber band.

Like I said earlier, getting from Sketchup to a PDF Ponoko likes was not simple. When I started this two years ago there was an extension for Sketchup to convert 2D objects to a SWF file. It didn't work on my Mac, that was part of the reason I put it off for so long. However, it does work with the current version of Sketchup.

Once you have an SWF file you need to organize the parts for cutting. When I first made this the best DIY way to do this was to use Inkscape, create an image the size of the material you were going to cut from, and then manually place the items on that image. Very time consuming. However, when I started looking at this a month ago I found a website called which does this. Then after I decided to use Ponoko I found as they have a Ponoko discount. So I used Deepnest instead to create the cutlist sheets.

So, to sum up those steps, I opened my 3D design in Sketchup. Created a new design in Sketchup and copied the 2D faces of the parts to that project. From there I used the SVG export plugin to export those 2D objects to an SVG file. I then imported that SVG file into Deepnest along with adding the size of sheets Ponoko supports and let Deepnest run for 2 days. I took the best design it came up with and copied and pasted it to the Ponoko templates using Inkscape. I then sent it to Ponoko.

If you are to use SVGnest you need to add a 2D object representing the material sheet to the SWF file. In Deepnest you can just create the sheets after you import the SWF.
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