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Subject: Table design - looking for feedback rss

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Schuyler Warren
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I'm finally getting around to replacing our gaming table, and I'm looking to build a larger table based on the world-famous $150 game table design. Mine will definitely come in at more than that though.

My goal is to get away from the corner post table base and go to a truss base if possible to make sure there's lots of leg room. Stability is a factor though.

As a designer, I'm pretty handy with Sketchup, but woodworking and physics are not my forte. I'm hoping that someone who does know either of these things could give some feedback on my model.

The table design is dimensioned, and I made an exploded model as well to make it easier to see how I'm imagining things will go together.

Would love feedback, and once I finalize, I'll be glad to share the as-builts and photos. Dropbox link to Sketchup file, photos below.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ud660o3zbvwuvc7/Game%20Table.skp

Cheers!




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Jeff Saxton
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After all, gas can is my middle name. Eh, not really.
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Looks like a classic library table, if not as tall. Should work quite well.
 
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Bryann Turner
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This is what I did. It works very well. You probably won't need the extra 2x4s in the X portion of the base.

I am to post a thread in the next week or so.


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Schuyler Warren
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Thanks! Good to see an example of someone else's design. You saved me some $ on 2x4s as well. Pretty good stability along the narrow axis?
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Bryann Turner
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Very. My legs are 40" wide, while the whole table is 50" so not a lot of room to cause instability.

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Scott
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Bullet points for brevity. Hope they're clear.


* Supports at 355mm rather than flush with end
* Suggests you're planning on end seating
* 455mm is the minimum recommended for dining tables
** That's when people are being formal and sitting upright
* You need to make sure there is space for thigh calf and foot
** not your thigh etc. unless you're larger than average because you want to accomodate tall people too

* With supports moved in to 455mm
** three a side seating might need everyone to slide one way to avoid hitting supports
** four a side seating might be improved
** because 355mm might put supports near the centre of players seated at ends of long sides; just an intuition, might not be right


* Dining table spacing often 685mm width per person
* About 600mm if you're all friends
* Game probably requires that as a minimum to aviod bumping elbows
* Could be more for larger games and larger players


Advantages of recessed table surface
* storage
* stops stuff falling off
* view angle is not improved

* Is storage well as large as structural elements allow?
* Have you sized out the things you plan to put in it so you know you can get them out again?
* A fabric sided pocket with a solid bottom and velcro attached panels might allow access without having to move everything from an in-use table

* Modern poker tables have a padded wall that is often only one finger tall
** Two fingers tall is luxurious
* This is ample height to stop meeples, cubes, ordinarily rolled dice, cards, etc. from falling off


View angle
* Even a 100mm gives no real advantage to what you can see in the centre of the table
* Same for foreshortening
* It does lead to about a 5 degree depression in view angle which you want to avoid for the sake of people's necks
* It hides anything hear your edge from sight
** So there's nothing to be gained from a deep well
** There are several disadvantages


Seating and chairs
* There's a lot of research into seating though not a lot of it deals with sunken tabletops
** Feel free to look it up
** All I'll say on chair ergonomics is that thighs shouldn't be lifted off seat because it is too short for calves and downward angled seat or lifting bottom to take weight near knees tends to be more comfortable
* Tables with recessed surfaces are thicker than most other tables
* A chair that works with an ordinary table of height x might not work with a recessed surface table whose top surface is also height x because bottom surface is x minus a lot
** Banged knees
* The deeper the well is sunk, the more people have to lean
** This is bad for elderly people or other people with compromised backs

How are you going to lift the surfaces?
* Cut outs/reccesses in lifted surface
* Ribbons fastened to underside
* Cord or solid handle near side
* Gap round edge with pry tool
* Magnets
* Pistons
* Cams

Mechanically it looks like you've got plenty of timber for strength, bearing in mind that 2 sections of thickness 1 are not as strong as 1 section of thickness 2.

The way you've doubled the cross braces on one end (notice on your images that you have designed the supports at each end differently) doesn't anything like double their strength. Under a load the outer braces, even if fastened to the inner elements meet a little like the jaw joint of Pacman. I've sketched a different arrangement where the upper braces butt the lower. (It's not ideal, I adapted it, adding the grey parts, from single to double without shifting the brown coloured members so you might want to adjust positioning so the butt joint is closer to the end so that load is transferred, ideally, to the vertical.) You will need to drill pocket holes for the butt joins which not everyone likes doing. Something like that might prove a little stronger but you'll have to evaluate for yourself and you might find that only a single not a double piece of wood is needed. I suspect that a single section would be sufficient, but again, you need to evaluate it for yourself.



Consider chamfering or rounding the corners of the uppermost surface because it hurts less when you walk into them.

Also, bevel the ends of the horizontal sections of your supports. On the upper pieces of wood it will stop their being a sharp corner to catch hands and other body parts on. On lower pieces of wood it looks nicer for very little effort and provides a more comfortable foot rest. All those six feet are dead boring and a bevel adds a little class. Also shown on sketch.

How are you going to fix the stretcher?

How are you going to fasten the rest of the table? It looks like you're going to be dealing with a few endgrains on those vertical supports. If you're screw fastening use long screws, coarse thread, and pilot holes. Or use what I believe they call in America cross dowels. Cross dowels will allow easier disassembly if you can access the screws through whatever material is covering the table's surface.

Stretcher can go lower if you want, and then it can be a foot rest for some players. This has the advantage of avoid bruised shins on long legged people.




You are going to lay out a few placeholders on the ground and test all the spacings you've proposed right? Grab a couple of buddies and see how much space you do need when playing, hold a couple of posts upright in position and see where they are in relation to legs and chairs and how many people can fit. Even if it's on a smaller table, build a wall (out of books or timber planks) on one side and see how comfortable it is lean and reach over for an extended period.


And because it's so important
Recessed surfaces make people lean forward with back to reach and constantly to lean more with the neck just to view. The less recessed, the less stress.
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Schuyler Warren
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All great comments, thanks!

Quote:
* 455mm is the minimum recommended for dining tables


I've moved the supports back to 1.5 feet (455 mm)

Quote:
* Is storage well as large as structural elements allow?


The center well is actually for a flat panel tv for D&D maps (like the original $150 table)

Quote:
** So there's nothing to be gained from a deep well


Looking at ways to make the well more shallow. I'm framing mine a little differently than the original - using an underlying frame to support the large plywood deck rather than placing all the load on the deck and potentially causing deformation with time. This has caused the whole thing to be a little deeper than typical. Another advantage of the deeper well is to be able to leave larger miniatures-heavy games set up and protected (from cats) under a top deck that allows for other lighter games to come on and off.

Quote:
* Tables with recessed surfaces are thicker than most other tables


Your legroom points are well-taken as well. I am more on the dwarf side of the dwarf-elf spectrum, but play with some more elvish folks who will appreciate your advocacy for them!

Quote:
How are you going to lift the surfaces?


It's hard to see in the images I uploaded, but there is a .5 inch diameter hole in the center of the two double-panel insets. This serves two purposes - ease in lifting out, and ease in making the first cut (particularly in the deep well).

Quote:
I've sketched a different arrangement where the upper braces butt the lower.


Intriguing! This also involves one less angle cut, which is always welcome.

Quote:
Consider chamfering or rounding the corners of the uppermost surface because it hurts less when you walk into them.


Great point, I've chamfered all the edges now.

Quote:
You are going to lay out a few placeholders on the ground and test all the spacings you've proposed right?


Definitely.
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Scott
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jetglue wrote:
All great comments, thanks!

Quote:
* Is storage well as large as structural elements allow?


The center well is actually for a flat panel tv for D&D maps (like the original $150 table)


Did you say you needed an extra player from down under? I think you said you needed an extra player from down under, no 4e okay? (we're men down here and we like our video games to be RPGs, not our RPGs to be video games. Oh, I don't like 3e either, or 3.5 so you know, 1st, 2nd, 5th?) That sounds awesome.

I know you didn't ask, but, you know, completely unaware of personal boundaries as I am.

I did a little web search and found $150 table with tv screen plans but I didn't see perspex/acrylic on the list of materials. A 3mm sheet (heh, you've already proven you can convert to real units) won't be all that bad for parallax but will stop a heck of a lot of damage if you drop your knife while we're playing knifey-spoony. I didn't see any mention of touch screen so a protective screen is not detrimental to function.

Glass is an option too but acrylic is easier and cheaper to size and won't shatter like ordinary glass and toughened safety glass can't be resized at all.

If you do want to use a protective layer and the shop won't dimension it for you, it's not hard to cut yourself. A fine saw blade (for laminates or metal) and high RPM, or you can cut it with a coping saw or a hacksaw blade.



Airflow isn't great on horizontally mounted tvs even if a 40" tv (I don't know why we still use inches for tvs here) is probably only producing about 3 0W (1328 ft lb per minute) and 50" about 6 0W (205 BTU/hour). The plans I have seen look like great heat traps since I haven't seen any vents on any of them.

It looks like the tv will be supported on a sheet which extends most of the way to the end of the well. That big gap will allow air in but I don't see any out vent. (I'm only looking at the BGG pics.) Most tvs (that I've seen) have vents at the top and bottom of the body (when mounted vertically), not the sides, to create a chimney effect. That big gap is at the, shall we say, left side of the tv. Even if you do get air flow from the big gap to holes drilled on the right side, it's not encouraging air flow from the "top" to "bottom".

Better might be a gap along either the "top" or "bottom" edge of the tv and a fan. Lots of tvs come with USB ports and there are lots of USB powered fans available (ebay for one, or splice a 100mm 5V PC cooling fan to a USB connector yourself). Sealing one edge of the panel will let air freely be sucked in the gap and then expelled through a fan mounted on the other side.

"Bottom" "Top"
####+--------------------------------+####
####|_______ ________|#### TV edge rests on rim in wood
##### cool \ --> flow --> / warm #####
##### \_____________/ #####
##### =====================|\\//|=#####

Gap Fan Wood panel meets rest of
table to force air flow through
TV's back panel vents


I don't know how much heat will shorten the life of the tv in particular but
* a 20 K (20 K) increase in ambient temp leads to a ten-fold increase in failure rate of electronic components;
* a 20 K (36 °Ra) increase in component temp above room temp can cut some components' lifetimes by a third. (Depends upon type of component.)
* My tv's electronics are very likely 20 K (38.1 °Rø) above ambient even with good airflow right now. Block their airflow and that number will jump and you get those accelerated failure rates mentioned just above.
* Since electronics failure times are typically measured in tens of thousands of hours (1.14 years) you might not actually notice thermally accelerated failure of a tv that should last for a few years and heat rejection might not be of concern to you.


How is the tv going to be supported?

If it's just resting on a wooden panel fixed on three sides (either short edge free as shown on your diagrams or long edge free as I've suggested for air flow), that panel is going to bow and the tv won't be level.

Of two tvs in front of me, one looks like it has just enough space all around its edges that it could rest on a wooden rim. The other's bottom edge is not not free at all and even has its IR sensor panel extending below the bottom edge making it non-rectangular. They're each only only a few kg (about 0.006 short ton) meaning rims about their edges should easily hold them but I'd still pass a couple of braces under their vertical mounting points so that a twisted tv couldn't fall if displaced off its rim.

If you haven't bought your tv already, because tvs can be weird shapes that back panel is something to think about for reasons other than cable conectors.

Speakers are also something to consider unless you're always patching the audio through an external unit or not using sound. The speakers are pointing into the well and the soundwaves hitting that bottom panel are not going very far unless the volume's up high.



Points about usefulness of a deep well noted. For some reason my cats show no interest in my games unless we're actually playing (by we, I mean and other humans, not me and my cats) so I'd quite forgotten other cats do enjoy playing them unsupervised.


Quote:
Quote:
I've sketched a different arrangement where the upper braces butt the lower.


Intriguing! This also involves one less angle cut, which is always welcome.


I hear you. Though, a tenon saw in a mitrebox makes for a fairly easy set of cuts, even if you use a plastic mitrebox bought only for this one project.

Just mind position when you're screwing through the top brace into the lower brace, avoid the screws attaching the lower brace to the upright. Do invest in a pocket hole jig and if possible clamp the joint during assembly.

Quote:
Quote:
Consider chamfering or rounding the corners of the uppermost surface because it hurts less when you walk into them.


Great point, I've chamfered all the edges now.


I just meant the four corners, to make the table octagonal. But hey, if you're keen.

Edit: thanks for the gg tip. A pleasant surprise thank you.
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