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Subject: Buying/Making 10mm Cubes rss

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Mike Silbernagel
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Hey BGG,

Was about to buy the 10mm cubes featured on Mayday Games, but some of the more popular colors are out of stock. What other sites that ship to North America sell cubes?

Additionally, does anyone have any experience cutting their own cubes? I have access to a good amount of machining tools at my university, but don't have any woodworking experience of my own.
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Zopper Alf
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These are the droids cubes you're looking for
http://www.spielmaterial.de/english4/start.php?d_P0002a_Cube...

from: http://www.spielmaterial.de/english4/
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Jack Reda
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You can get them from theGameCrafter.com
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Gadi Oron
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Why not buy from Andrew? Print & Play Productions - Parts
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Steve S
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MSilby wrote:
Additionally, does anyone have any experience cutting their own cubes? I have access to a good amount of machining tools at my university, but don't have any woodworking experience of my own.


I just made about 100 of them last week, was painting them just a few minutes ago.
It's way, WAY cheaper to buy a 10mm(or 3/8") dowel rod and cut it down as opposed to buying them pre-cut.

The method I used was a little sloppy (and frankly a bit dangerous) because I didn't have the proper tools and I improvised, but if you have access to a table saw or mitre saw you should be able to pump out cubes very quickly and safely by using a "block and clamp" method to eliminate having to measure after the first cut (let me know if you need more detail on that and I'll get back to you).
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Brenden Johnson
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regex wrote:
Why not buy from Andrew? Print & Play Productions - Parts

Andrew is not selling individual bits any more (only as a part of a prototype) but you can buy everything he sold over at Boards & Bits.
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Garry Rice
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regex wrote:
Why not buy from Andrew? Print & Play Productions - Parts


Unless things have changed, he's gotten out of the individual parts supply (although I believe he'll throw parts in if you order a game from him).
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Gadi Oron
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Thanks for the info. I didn't know that.

justplainchips wrote:
regex wrote:
Why not buy from Andrew? Print & Play Productions - Parts

Andrew is not selling individual bits any more (only as a part of a prototype) but you can buy everything he sold over at Boards & Bits.
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Mike Silbernagel
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Shadoglare wrote:

I just made about 100 of them last week, was painting them just a few minutes ago.
It's way, WAY cheaper to buy a 10mm(or 3/8") dowel rod and cut it down as opposed to buying them pre-cut.


I do have access to a bandsaw, mitre saw and a table saw. Would the bandsaw be best for precision cutting?
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Brandon Tibbetts
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Don't make them. This is what you want:

Centimeter Cubes - Set of 1000

10 Colors

$17.65

http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/531004/Centimeter_Cubes_...
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Adam Vajcovec
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Do they have to be wood? I just bought 1000 plastic cubes in 10 colors for prototyping, and they're exactly what I needed and cost under $18.

http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/531004/Centimeter_Cubes_...

I was also buying dice, so I was able to get to $50, and there's a code for free shipping on orders over $50 until the end of the month.

Amazon also has a 500-count version which is probably the same product, but I can't be certain. I've only actually used the product above and I'm happy with it.

http://www.amazon.com/CENTIMETER-CUBES-500-PK-10-COLORS/dp/B...

edit: haha, I was too late! Well, I second that recommendation.
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Mike Silbernagel
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schmanthony wrote:
Don't make them. This is what you want:

Centimeter Cubes - Set of 1000

10 Colors

$17.65

http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/531004/Centimeter_Cubes_...


Thanks for the recommendation. I had actually purchased the counting tiles for a previous project, I should have checked to see if they sold cubes as well!

Edit: And I edit to second your recommendation! I ended up going with the amazon link you provided, but what's funny enough is that I made my decision before reading your post, I just had happened to check amazon as well!

Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm really impressed how well everyone answered, and now I feel comfortable buying/making wooden cubes (if I ever want a classier feel) and buying plastic because well... I'm a college student.

Thanks again everyone!
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Jake Staines
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MSilby wrote:

I do have access to a bandsaw, mitre saw and a table saw. Would the bandsaw be best for precision cutting?


The bandsaw would be best for not wasting most of your wood as sawdust, if nothing else! Also most likely safer to use to cut small pieces than either of the other options.

Were I to be making cubes for games myself - and this is something I plan to try in the near future - I would start with a block of planed wood, resaw it down into ~11mm-wide slabs, plane the sawn faces down to 10mm, rip those down into 10x11mm rods (again on the bandsaw) and plane the newly-sawn faces down to 10mm again, then using a crosscut sled on the bandsaw and a sacrificial block behind the rods to reduce breakout, cut five or six at a time down to 10x10x11mm cubes... then hand-sand the sawn faces to flat 10mm cubes.

Bear in mind that putting anything after the slab on an electric planer/jointer/whatever you want to call it is probably Not A Good Idea, I'd use a hand plane for the rods at least. Or just cut to the actual size you want and put up with slightly rougher faces, depends what the cut on your bandsaw is like.
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Steve S
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Bichatse wrote:
Were I to be making cubes for games myself - and this is something I plan to try in the near future - I would start with a block of planed wood, resaw it down into ~11mm-wide slabs, plane the sawn faces down to 10mm, rip those down into 10x11mm rods (again on the bandsaw) and plane the newly-sawn faces down to 10mm again, then using a crosscut sled on the bandsaw and a sacrificial block behind the rods to reduce breakout, cut five or six at a time down to 10x10x11mm cubes... then hand-sand the sawn faces to flat 10mm cubes.


Wow. I mean I don't have a bandsaw *or* a planer, but even if I did I don't see myself going through all that when you can buy the rods already cut for really darned cheap.

$1.25 buys me a 36"x3/8" dowel rod which can easily provide 60-70+ cubes or more depending on how brave you are about cutting near the end where you're holding it. I suppose if you literally need like a thousand cubes, the method you're talking about might save a few pennies in the end, but still...
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Jake Staines
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Shadoglare wrote:

$1.25 buys me a 36"x3/8" dowel rod which can easily provide 60-70+ cubes or more depending on how brave you are about cutting near the end where you're holding it.


I don't know what the situation is in the US, but here in the UK £3-4 will buy you a couple of metres of hardwood dowel... but if you cut into it, you quickly discover that it's possibly the most rubbish 'hard'wood ever, doesn't cut cleanly, splinters and breaks apart like anything, and so on. You can buy pine dowelling which is cheaper, but again - it's force-grown pine which is only a small step up from balsa. There are specialist places you can buy dowels or other profiles made of decent wood (I know one place which will sell me ash, sycamore or sapele, for example), but it's much more expensive.


And really, the process outlined above shouldn't take very much time at all, if you have the bandsaw and a bench you can plane on (or don't mind the sawn surface on whatever wood you're using that much).


But yeah, buying pre-made is always going to be easier. The problem is when you can't buy pre-made profiles for whatever shape you want. If you want cubes or discs you're probably OK, but can you buy rods of an octagonal profile, for example?
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Steve S
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Bichatse wrote:
I don't know what the situation is in the US, but here in the UK £3-4 will buy you a couple of metres of hardwood dowel... but if you cut into it, you quickly discover that it's possibly the most rubbish 'hard'wood ever, doesn't cut cleanly, splinters and breaks apart like anything, and so on.


At least so far I've had pretty good luck in that I haven't run into anything like this, but I suppose it could vary by supplier and I've only dealt with a couple of them.

Quote:
The problem is when you can't buy pre-made profiles for whatever shape you want. If you want cubes or discs you're probably OK, but can you buy rods of an octagonal profile, for example?


This is true if you're wanting to "branch out" into other shapes. For example I'm involved in a pretty extensive conversation in another tread about the easiest way to make hex tokens at home for Sovereign, as the tokens shown by the designer of the game were created by his woodworker father on a table saw, which is something I don't own and probably won't for a good while.
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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Quote:
The problem is when you can't buy pre-made profiles for whatever shape you want. If you want cubes or discs you're probably OK, but can you buy rods of an octagonal profile, for example?


We can only dream.
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Gadi Oron
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I haven't tried it myself, but a friend suggested that pre-painting the rod before cutting it will help in avoiding the splinters that come off while cutting.

Bichatse wrote:

I don't know what the situation is in the US, but here in the UK £3-4 will buy you a couple of metres of hardwood dowel... but if you cut into it, you quickly discover that it's possibly the most rubbish 'hard'wood ever, doesn't cut cleanly, splinters and breaks apart like anything, and so on.
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Jake Staines
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regex wrote:
I haven't tried it myself, but a friend suggested that pre-painting the rod before cutting it will help in avoiding the splinters that come off while cutting.


How well it works probably depends on the viscosity and hardness of the paint used, I imagine... but it's certainly worth a try, thanks for the tip!

Part of the problem with the stuff I've bought from UK shops in the past, though, is that I'm using power tools (for expedience, generally), which tend to exert stronger and more random forces on the surface of the material than a hand cut would.
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Gadi Oron
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Hi

As for the paint: I believe you should use a lacquer paint that would get absorbed a bit into the wood. Another trick might be simply to wash the rod with some diluted wood glue - but this is just a wild guess - I will try it sometimes.

As for the power tools:
I am using a scroll saw, that looks somewhat like this


which is supposed to make the finest cuts, but still I find it hard to avoid the irregular break of the rod towards the end.

I had partial success with gradually cutting from all sides of the rod. You get the break in the middle of the rod and you sand it out afterwards.

BTW: A good trick for quick sanding. Use a thin double sided adhesive tape to place all your cubes on a flat piece of wood and use a round sander attached to a drill. You get a lot of cubes sanded together and have them at the same size.

Enjoy

Bichatse wrote:

Part of the problem with the stuff I've bought from UK shops in the past, though, is that I'm using power tools (for expedience, generally), which tend to exert stronger and more random forces on the surface of the material than a hand cut would.
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Jake Staines
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regex wrote:

still I find it hard to avoid the irregular break of the rod towards the end.


Have you tried putting a sacrificial block of wood (or MDF, or chipboard, or something) behind the piece you're cutting? It generally works well to avoid breakout, you just end up cutting a short way into the block and the block holds the rear fibres of the wood in.
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Gadi Oron
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I haven't tried this trick for 3 reasons:
1. I didn't know it (thanks for the help!)
2. I was cutting mostly round rods for disks - I would need a strangely shaped block
3. The saw is going up and down and you would cut more fingers than disks if you wouldn't use some trick to hold the rod firmly. I drilled a hole in a big wood block and push the rod into it with only the part to cut is sticking out. I can manipulate the rod through the block at a safe distance. It would be difficult to use it together with the sacrificial block.

Man - I wish I had a band saw, maybe I should break into a butchery and steal one!


Bichatse wrote:
regex wrote:

still I find it hard to avoid the irregular break of the rod towards the end.


Have you tried putting a sacrificial block of wood (or MDF, or chipboard, or something) behind the piece you're cutting? It generally works well to avoid breakout, you just end up cutting a short way into the block and the block holds the rear fibres of the wood in.
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Jake Staines
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regex wrote:
I drilled a hole in a big wood block and push the rod into it with only the part to cut is sticking out. I can manipulate the rod through the block at a safe distance. It would be difficult to use it together with the sacrificial block.


I must admit I've never actually used a scrollsaw, so maybe I'm missing something - perhaps, if you can drill a hole the same circumference as your dowel, you could drill a hole clean through a block, and then make the cut actually through the front side of the block, so the block-with-hole-drilled-through keeps the fibres in place? I don't know how easy it is to back a scrollsaw out of a cut without breaking the blade, or whether the blade is flat enough to be guided by an existing kerf, though...
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Jeffrey Knodel
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Bichatse wrote:
[q="regex"]
still I find it hard to avoid the irregular break of the rod towards the end.


For cutting small cylinders from a long wooden rod, the key is to have both sides of the rod supported, right next to the edge of the cut.

Doing this with fingers is impossible over a long run (since you only have so many of them.) And if you don't have the small bit supported, it will go flying as soon as you make the cut.

The thing to do is make a jig. Normally these saws will have a slot on the table that you can use to make a platform that slides square to the blade. (The one that you have pictured does not, yours may.)

Start with a sheet of hardboard or thin MDF to make the tray for the jig. Glue a block of wood that fits the slot in your table, or two blocks, one for each side of your table -- these runners will make the platform slide square to the blade.

Attach a small board to the back edge of the platform, as perfectly perpendicular to the runners as you can. This will be what you hold the material against. When that is done, go ahead and use the platform on your saw to cut through the platform almost up to the back edge board.

Then, take a block of wood that is at least triple the width of your dowel, and up to a couple of inches bigger, and about 2-4 inches long.

Use a drill (press) and bore a hole length wise in the block. Use a bit that is the tiniest bit bigger than the dowel that you will be using, or use one that is the same size, and use a round file to open it up just a little bit. --- You want to be able to move your dowel through the hole smoothly, but have as little play as possible. Don't sand your dowel -- unless you want to sand every one of them.

Once you have the block, and it will smoothly but firmly let dowels through it, hold it against the back edge of your platform, and cut through the middle of the block, perpendicular to the dowel hole, and not all the way through the block -- just past the hole.

If you're going to be doing this operation often, you may just want to glue to dowel block to the platform, and use this only for the one jig, if not, you can hold (clamp) it in place.

When you do this, both sides of the dowel will be held in place against the blade, the tear-out will be minimized because the entire dowel is supported against the blade, and the small piece will not go flying, because its in the other half of the tube.

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Gadi Oron
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Thank you Jeffry for the detailed description.

To make sure I understand your jig I made a sketch of what I understood.

Can you confirm that I am not missing anything?

Thanks for the help.
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