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Subject: How do you make a game dial? rss

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David Gregg
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I'd like to play around with making my own game dials, such as those in King of Tokyo, but I'm not sure what is best to use for fasteners. In larger board games it won't matter much, but I have a couple of projects where keeping the dials as thin as possible will be essential. So, what I can use as a fastener for the dials that won't add a lot of thickness?

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Paper rivets are what are typically used, similar to these.

http://www.hang-shop.com/uk/rivets/rivets.php

You can probably find them at a scrapbooking area in a craft store.
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Ah, that's what they're called, thanks!
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I use what I grew up referring to as split pins, but appear to now be call brass fasteners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_fasteners

Not to be confused with bra fasteners.
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You might want a sex bolt, also known as a Chicago screw.

I didn't make those names up but they remind me of the joke about someone arriving in Boston (known for its seafood) and asking their taxi driver where they can get scrod.
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KAndrw wrote:
I use what I grew up referring to as split pins, but appear to now be call brass fasteners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_fasteners

Not to be confused with bra fasteners.
Hey, it's plural. You should be able to fasten more than one bra whistle
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I tried this several years ago with PotR (pictured below) and am in the process of making some combat wheels for Dune. I used grommets from a badminton racquet as they are cheap and don't cause the wheels to wobble and mis-align when rotated as brass fasteners can if the hole is slightly too big. They come in a range of colours and can be cut to the right length and then melted flat with a heated screwdriver. The backs may look a bit messy though. I'd like to find some two part plastic grommets such as the ones used in El Grande or Maharaja or card clocks as used in primary schools if anyone can provide a link.

Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance
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Those are pretty nice!
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Paper binding screws.
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s3rvant wrote:
I'd like to play around with making my own game dials, such as those in King of Tokyo, but I'm not sure what is best to use for fasteners.
Six years late to the party here, but I thought I'd add a couple of observations.

Firstly - I just made half a dozen dual dials for my copy of Eldritch Horror, using metal 2mm-length Chicago screws with a 10mm head, and home-printed artwork on 200gsm card (slightly lighter than US 80lb), which I then laminated.

From gallery of fredd13


They work well, but one nice thing I hadn't anticipated is that the screws also give them a weighty, solid feel that the lighter paper fasteners don't. And you don't have that annoying split-pin flailing around at the back of your piece, either (which I guess you either live with or tape down). I'll definitely be buying more screws "for next time".

Secondly - I discovered that there's a hidden design decision that you need to make, when you have two dials: should the numbers on both dials run in the same direction (and if so, clockwise or counter-clockwise)? Or should they run opposite ways?

My first attempt had them running the same way round the dials (as in the graphic in the OP's post), but it somehow felt "wrong" when I came to use it. So I swapped to running them opposite ways, with counter-clockwise on the left, clockwise on the right). Why? Because it felt intuitive. The numbers in the opening increase/decrease in the same fashion - high numbers always come in from the display top, low from the bottom. You turn the bottom of the dial outwards to increase, inwards to decrease.

I might have reached a different decision (and design) if I'd had more than two dials, or even if the display had been rather bigger - but on my unit, at least, where I tend to operate the left dial with my left thumb and the right with my right, it feels "correct". But whatever - if you're making something like this, it's something to think about.
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fredd13 wrote:
Secondly - I discovered that there's a hidden design decision that you need to make, when you have two dials: should the numbers on both dials run in the same direction (and if so, clockwise or counter-clockwise)? Or should they run opposite ways?

My first attempt had them running the same way round the dials (as in the graphic in the OP's post), but it somehow felt "wrong" when I came to use it. So I swapped to running them opposite ways, with counter-clockwise on the left, clockwise on the right). Why? Because it felt intuitive. The numbers in the opening increase/decrease in the same fashion - high numbers always come in from the display top, low from the bottom. You turn the bottom of the dial outwards to increase, inwards to decrease.

I might have reached a different decision (and design) if I'd had more than two dials, or even if the display had been rather bigger - but on my unit, at least, where I tend to operate the left dial with my left thumb and the right with my right, it feels "correct". But whatever - if you're making something like this, it's something to think about.
I had not considered this until you mentioned it but that is a very good point and I also agree with your assessment/solution. Having them increase and decrease in opposite directions makes sense intuitively to me as well.

Glad you pointed this out!!
 
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JPotter - Bits77
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fredd13 wrote:
... made half a dozen dual dials for my copy of Eldritch Horror, using metal 2mm-length Chicago screws with a 10mm head....
I also use chicago screws for dials, as in these alliance dials for Cosmic Encounter.

Chicago screws come in numerous finishes and a tremendous variety of lengths.

They make dis/re/assembling dials easy and can be tightened or loosened to adjust the friction in the dial.

From gallery of aesthetocyst
 
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Jake Staines
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One thing to bear in mind with Chicago screws: one half forms the outside of the 'axle' that the dial rotates around... and can rub against that axle and unscrew the post. It's worth paying attention to which way the dial is usually going to run ('up' for score dials, 'down' for health, etc.) and inserting the post in such a way as this rotation tightens the post.

Or just glue them together. The plastic ones I have are nylon, and as such there aren't really any household glues that properly work, but a bit of threadlock or superglue will help a lot - or just dent each end with a conical soldering iron tip to melt the two parts together.
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Bichatse wrote:
One thing to bear in mind with Chicago screws: one half forms the outside of the 'axle' that the dial rotates around... and can rub against that axle and unscrew the post. It's worth paying attention to which way the dial is usually going to run ('up' for score dials, 'down' for health, etc.) and inserting the post in such a way as this rotation tightens the post.

Or just glue them together. The plastic ones I have are nylon, and as such there aren't really any household glues that properly work, but a bit of threadlock or superglue will help a lot - or just dent each end with a conical soldering iron tip to melt the two parts together.
Good point, but not a problem if your dials have a stationary front and back sandwiching the rotating layers.
 
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Trust me: the stationary front or back can make it worse - it gives something for the other half of the screw post to grip against so that the spinning actually unscrews it rather than just spinning in place.

Metal screw posts are better than nylon, and slightly oversized are better than undersized, in my experience.
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