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Subject: 20mm square tiled styrene or plastic sheet??? rss

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I'm looking to find some styrene (or plastic sheet) tiled in 20mm squares (measured groove center to groove center like Evergreen styrene sheet). OR a very close measurement (example 19mm would work, or something very close in inch measurements).

Evergreen has the product I need (tiled sheets) BUT the biggest square is only 0.5" and that is too small.

Can anyone point me to a product that would fit what I need?

I'm pretty sure that it exists or has existed since the Battlestations modules appear to be made from it. When I examined high res pictures of the modules, the grooves are too uniform (and intersections very uniform) to be scored by hand, even if only one way (meaning groves were stock in one direction and the other direction was scored by hand).

Thanks for any help or suggestions you have for me.
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Jake Staines
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minionhunter wrote:

When I examined high res pictures of the modules, the grooves are too uniform (and intersections very uniform) to be scored by hand, even if only one way (meaning groves were stock in one direction and the other direction was scored by hand).


For what it's worth, the Battlestations modules I've seen could quite plausibly be made by hand. Were I trying to do so myself, I would:

- Measure out the baseboard on thick sheet styrene
- Use a steel ruler and a sharp knife to carefully cut out as many 20mm-wide squares as necessary out of ~1.0-0.5mm styrene sheet. Probably best to score the 20mm grid over the card before cutting into strips, to avoid the knife slipping when cross-cutting
- If necessary use 200-400 grit wet'n'dry paper to sand any knife ridges down - best done with a sanding block as parallel to the surface of the tile as possible.
- Use a square (an engineering square by preference) to position two long straight edges forming a 90-degree corner; tape down to the baseboard on the outside edge so they can't easily move.
- Glue the first square down butted right up into the corner of this right-angled fence
- Use a thin strip of the same styrene you're cutting the tiles out of as a spacer block; hold it against one edge of the first tile, then push the next glued tile up against the spacer block and the fence
- Carry on alternating spacers and tiles until you reach the end of the row, then place one long spacer down the side of the entire row and start again, using that spacer as your new fence.
- Once the glue is dry, pull the spacers up and you'll be left with a grid of perfectly-aligned tiles.
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Aron Clark
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Could you just lay down the grid with a permanet marker and then cover with some clear sealer?
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Thanks Joe, however that is a TON of work when Evergreen makes pre-tiled sheet that does exactly the same thing.

If you look here you will see the grid intersections are too uniform to be done by hand. It is pre-formed styrene (or other plastic).

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/437723/battlestations?siz...

If you go to the next picture, I think it shows he put a cardboard game module that comes with the set, into the 3D module. That means the inside dimensions are around 90mm +/- a mm here or there.

I could do this by hand if needed, and use a V-groove scoring tool, but somewhere, someone has this stuff by the meter, I can smell it, I just need to track it down.

Also, 3/4" is fine, anything close to 2cm (like 18.9mm is fine).
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minionhunter wrote:

If you look here you will see the grid intersections are too uniform to be done by hand. It is pre-formed styrene (or other plastic).


I don't believe that there is any such thing as "too uniform to be done by hand", at least using modern hand tools and materials!

Seriously, the method I outlined could give you perfectly uniform tiles - that's the point of using the perfect-engineered-thickness styrene sheet as a spacer block. It'd take a while, but you can be batching through the whole game's worth as you work, so you're never waiting for anything to dry. Or make one, then cast many copies in resin!

Yes, the ones in the picture you link to look like they've been engraved rather than glued up, but that doesn't mean you can't match the precision. If you wanted to DIY and engrave, then I'd be tempted to try the Dremel router table, as much as I hear it's pretty useless for anything non-miniature.



If you're set on buying something pre-made, you could look at model railway suppliers for large scale flagstones or something - there's a huge variety of textured (vacuformed, I believe) styrene sheeting available to model railway enthusiasts; most of it's brick patterns or york stone paving, but there's some square grid-like stuff around as well. But I can't think of anyone other than board gamers who would need such a large grid, which makes it less likely to be available.
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Brian
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Quote:
If you look here you will see the grid intersections are too uniform to be done by hand. It is pre-formed styrene (or other plastic).


You seem to me to be making some bad assumptions.

Your level of 'by hand' may not be his level. Doesn't sound like it's mine.

The numbers didn't come stock, so why do the you think the grooves have to be?

Could be same tool.

The grooves are not rocket science regardless. Everybody thinks you need a laser cutter or 3d printer to make anything. Hint hint: there are ways to do things easier, that you might not know.

If there is a clue to being a stock sheet, its that the groove is on both sides of some parts, don't know why someone would bother with that.

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ionizedbrian wrote:
The numbers didn't come stock, so why do the you think the grooves have to be?

Could be same tool.


Could be, do you want to suggest one? The generation of the numbers are my next question, and the star/circle thing which is a tricky thing. The grooves I think are stock because the intersections are uniform, no drag marks through either side if pulling a scoring tool. The other option is to melt them in, which is fine, but seems like tons of work to do this for the number of individual units needed for this. Stock sheet seems like the simplest way this was done, unless there is a quick way to make the grid.

ionizedbrian wrote:
The grooves are not rocket science regardless. Everybody thinks you need a laser cutter or 3d printer to make anything. Hint hint: there are ways to do things easier, that you might not know.

I never said it could not be replicated by hand, but the tool marks to me look like they were mass produced by machine. They look nearly identical to Evergreen stock sheets but bigger. I could come close with a T-square and V-groove tool, but a stock sheet would be much simpler.

ionizedbrian wrote:


If there is a clue to being a stock sheet, its that the groove is on both sides of some parts, don't know why someone would bother with that.



Which with the other marks I see makes me think the floors were stock. If you have an idea on how the numbers were made, I'm all ears.
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Bichatse wrote:


Yes, the ones in the picture you link to look like they've been engraved rather than glued up, but that doesn't mean you can't match the precision. If you wanted to DIY and engrave, then I'd be tempted to try the Dremel router table, as much as I hear it's pretty useless for anything non-miniature.



If you're set on buying something pre-made, you could look at model railway suppliers for large scale flagstones or something - there's a huge variety of textured (vacuformed, I believe) styrene sheeting available to model railway enthusiasts; most of it's brick patterns or york stone paving, but there's some square grid-like stuff around as well. But I can't think of anyone other than board gamers who would need such a large grid, which makes it less likely to be available.


They don't look engraved to me at all, they look heat formed. Vacuforming is my guess, they were not engraved, there would be tell tale tool marks.

I suppose that the whole thing could be pressed from a die that was machined, still it seems very involved and expensive for the limited amount of market there would be for these things.
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minionhunter wrote:

They don't look engraved to me at all, they look heat formed. Vacuforming is my guess, they were not engraved, there would be tell tale tool marks.


For what it's worth, they don't look vacuformed at all to me - vacuforming creates a hollow contoured piece, whereas these look solid and with varying depth. My guess would be injection-moulded if they're mass produced (or drop-cast in resin if they're not), based on a master which had been engraved.

(And really, when I say "engraved" I simply mean "material has been removed by tool to create a recess", not necessarily scratching out by hand with a sharp point. I'd reach for the Dremel if I were trying something like this myself, and on styrene with a sharp cutter it wouldn't leave any noticeable tool marks.)



Talk about the numbers reminded me, though - I saw a hand-held rotary engraving tool on sale in my local Lidl recently which supposedly follows templates and comes with letter and number stencils:

http://www.lidl.com.mt/cps/rde/xchg/SID-4F29769E-A8AAEF70/li...

I don't own one so I don't know how good it is, but if it follows the stencil well without marring it, then a tool like that may also be an option for creating both the grid and the numbers in a suitably thick piece of sheet styrene or something.
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I've seen people use the Citadel Modular Movement Tray kit for stuff like this, but that could get pretty pricey if you need many sheets.

The sheets in the kit are 200mm x 200mm, tiled in 20mm squares on one side and 25mm squares on the other side.

You can see them here:
http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?...
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I think I'm going to see what they look like done in 1/8" and 1/4" sheet from Evergreen. After drudging through the archives on yahoo, they said they measure just over 3.75" by 0.75" tall, this gives about the dimension of the sheets and 20mm tall. I'll see what these look like to me once I get an initial build.

Reading those archives makes me think now they had these done on shapeways initially. Maybe not, but the made the missile bays for NinjaMagic missiles and say he is a friend and he did his stuff in a similar manner (I think).

They are also white resin casts that you are looking at, not styrene.

I'm going to see what being a little more laid back gives me.
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I've also read that dremels melt styrene quickly.
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minionhunter wrote:
I've also read that dremels melt styrene quickly.


A variable speed Dremel can do it with the right bit and the right technique, but you will melt styrene if you just go after it willy-nilly with whatever bit you happen to grab. As long as you do your research and take your time (and possibly experiment a little bit on a scrap piece), you can do what you have to without melting it.
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minionhunter wrote:
I've also read that dremels melt styrene quickly.


I think that I can honestly say that in over a decade of ownership of various Dremel tools, I've never melted styrene with any of them.

If you're melting or burning your workpiece with any cutting tool it's because there's too much friction, and too much friction is nearly always the result of one of three problems:
- Blunt cutting edge
- Too much lateral pressure (e.g. allowing the side face of a Dremel cutting disc to come into contact with the side of the cut)
- Too high a cutting speed (partly because the previous point can rarely be totally eliminated).

Taking small cuts at a time is generally enough to prevent melting and burning.
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After sleeping on it, and one of the owners getting back to me and telling me that the walls are 2mm thick, and the floors 1.5mm for each layer, I am going to try making a master out of polymer clay and see what happens.

The thickness of the floor surprised me a bit (I guessed 1mm each layer), but I was dead on in my estimate of the wall thickness.

I'm going to make a frame of 1.5mm thick plastic card strips (hopefully square) on top of clean plate glass (for as smooth a surface as I can get) press the clay in and get it flat, then scribe the lines, stencil the numbers (not sure how to keep marks off the clay here, maybe an extender tool like above), and stencil the circle and star. Its the only way I can think of to do all that I want without expensive punches or using a laser cutter or having a master machined from aluminum.

From here I can bake it solid, cut out the corners and sides, then make a mold from it for casting. I figure I can use styrene card for the 2mm thick walls a lot easier than casting a bunch of walls. I don't care about lines on the walls at all. The only thing I might worry about is that the styrene card is not UV safe and the walls would eventually deteriorate if not painted.

My concerns with this method are:

1. Scribing the lines in clay will leave clay "burrs" on top and in the grooves. The top could be removed with another piece of flat glass pressed on top at the end.

2. stenciling the numbers and shapes on will leave marks on the clay from the template, not sure how to prevent this other than covering the clay with something to protect it to start with.

Can you harden polymer clay "a little" by baking it for a short time to get it a little bit stiffer, but not totally cured, so that the surface resists marks (like from the templates)?
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minionhunter wrote:


My concerns with this method are:

1. Scribing the lines in clay will leave clay "burrs" on top and in the grooves. The top could be removed with another piece of flat glass pressed on top at the end.

2. stenciling the numbers and shapes on will leave marks on the clay from the template, not sure how to prevent this other than covering the clay with something to protect it to start with.

Can you harden polymer clay "a little" by baking it for a short time to get it a little bit stiffer, but not totally cured, so that the surface resists marks (like from the templates)?


1. You could sand the clay after baking (use wet/dry sandpaper and sand underwater, polymer dust isn't all that good or your lungs) to remove the burrs. Alternatively you could scribe the clay after baking. Try baking the raw clay on ordinary copy paper on a ceramic tile with another sheet of paper and a face-down tile on top to keep everything flat. (If you bake straight on the tile you'll get horrible shiny spots.)

2. I'm not familiar with the pieces you're making, but could you use rubber stamps or similar to impress the numbers/shapes? Failing that, you could remove the stencil marks by gently rubbing the clay with your fingers. Use some cornstarch and you won't get fingerprints.

You can part-bake polymer, but it's pretty hard to judge it exactly so you can still impress - it's likely to just crack. I'd recommend a strong clay like Kato (expensive but worth it) which is much less easy to accidentally mark since it's very firm. Another option is to leech some of the plasticisers from the clay by leaving it on a sheet of paper for a few hours until you see a "grease" mark on the paper and the clay's firmer.

DON'T try this with a weaker clay (Sculpey III, Fimo Soft), they crumble and will break easily when baked. Kato, Cernit, Fimo Classic, or Premo Sculpey will work much better for this.
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minionhunter wrote:

clean plate glass
...
bake


If you do this, make very sure that the glass you use is oven-safe.

Some glass things will crack or shatter if you heat them suddenly (I think it's something to do with different parts of the glass - because of thickness or because of other materials touching - expanding at different rates?), and I doubt very much that your average picture-frame glass is intended to be baked!

The safest option is a large Pyrex (or similar) lasagne dish or something, since Pyrex glassware is specifically designed to go in the oven. Or perhaps just working on a bit of wax paper on top of a flat surface (which could still be glass, of course) so you don't have to put the flat surface in the oven, you can just peel the wax paper up and put it on a baking tray.


(I'd still go for gluing up layers of styrene sheet, myself, though - it seems the easiest answer by far.)
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Thanks Anna!!!

I was thinking of cutting a square hole in a styrene sheet instead of making a frame now. I only have sculpyIII at the moment, so I will try that and just see how it goes while I figure out which other clay to order.

I'm also goign to do a cardboard mockup to start. Talking about all this is sure bringing back all the stuff around it when I was doing a lot of scratch building model houses and sets 20+ years ago. Its coming back quickly, but the sculpting is new.

I'll see about rubber stamps....
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The glass will be fine, its surplus from work (chemist).

1/4" thick or thicker, just not flame polished on the sides yet. It is only like 16" square, I wish I had a whole 24"x36" sheet of it. I need to get my glass blower to polish it for me and be able to pay him. Its not safe yet to use for this, way too sharp. I have like 6 plates of it I got from recycling. I have some half size plates too. I got them years ago and have done nothing with them since. I need to get one sandblasted (cintered) to use with a big, big bell distilling jar I have (though its likely way to big for the plates I have, the thing is huge)!!!

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