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Subject: Plexiglass - how thick? rss

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Mike
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I figure I better break down and buy some plexiglass. What thickness do the experts suggest for wargaming? It has too be heavy enough to flatten maps and be durable, but I don't want to wrench my back moving it.
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Hunga Dunga
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As thin as you can get it, non-glare if possible.

With thick plexi, you get a bit of distortion as your counters appear to "float" over the map.
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Eric Brosius
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I just buy 24 by 36 inch poster frames from Michael's crafts and they work great.
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Leo Zappa
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My two oldest sheets (all 24" x 36") are approximately .125 inches thick. My newest six sheets (in preparation for playing some monsters) are .093 inches thick. I compromised on the thickness simply due to cost - there was a big price hike for the thicker sheets, and I couldn't justify it, as I think the .093" sheets will do a fine job.
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Hunga Dunga
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Bend while laying flat on a table?
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Mike Watne
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I have a roughly 4'x8' sheet that I use to cover an entire table top. At that size, I ended up using a 3/16" thickness. It is pretty durable and can sustain its own weight without snapping when I remove it from the table, but still provides a clear view of the maps underneath. If I had a light fixture directly overhead, it might be annoying, but under most play conditions I've never had a problem with it.
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Jim Jackson

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I think mine is 3/16 or 1/4, I love it, heavy enough to flatten anything. It is a bit heavy, thou not unmangable, I have 2 2x4's and 4 2x2's. Don't move them much so the weight its not an issue for me. The 2x2's are easily portable. Plexiglass has skyrocketed in price in the past couple of years! But, so has everything else I guess!
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Bartow Riggs
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I'm in the distinct minority but I recommend glass - actual glass. I have heard the "float" argument before but for home use I use a 36" x 36" X 1/4" piece of glass I bought at least 15 years ago ($40) and it is still going strong. Glass has two major advantages:

1) it does not scratch (well unless you try to scratch it.)
2) it is heavy. I use it even with mounted mapboards and the weight evens out any irregularities.

I've never ever had a problem mentioned by others with "float."

For portable use I have a sheet of 30" x 36" x 1/8" plexi that I replace every few years as it gets scratched up. The 30" dimension is because that is the standard width of most folding tables used in game stores and at conventions.

These two pieces work well for me and is what I would recommend.
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Damo
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both 2mm and 3mm work.
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Mike
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Thanks for advice gentlemen!
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Darrell Hanning
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As Mike, above, alluded to, the larger the piece, the thicker it needs to be, to keep from cracking under torsional stress, such as picking it up in a way that significantly bends it.

The thicker the piece, the greater the parallax problem, when viewing counters from more than one viewpoint.

My personal preference is multiple pieces that, when put together, can cover the largest game you're going to fit on your table, where each piece is not so small it cannot cover a single mapsheet by itself. This lets you get away with thinner sheets, yet gives you the flexibility to cover larger maps. Just make sure they're all the same thickness, so you don't have places on larger maps where counters sit at an angle.
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I like my plexiglass like I like my women. Thin, and easy to pick up.
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Robert Martin
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Shauneroo wrote:
I like my plexiglass like I like my women. Thin, and easy to pick up.


Nay, Thick and stout is the way to go!
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Mike
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Oldwargamer wrote:
Shauneroo wrote:
I like my plexiglass like I like my women. Thin, and easy to pick up.


Nay, Thick and stout is the way to go!


I suppose it really depends on what you have planned.
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Hunga Dunga
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DarrellKH wrote:
My personal preference is multiple pieces that, when put together, can cover the largest game you're going to fit on your table, where each piece is not so small it cannot cover a single mapsheet by itself. This lets you get away with thinner sheets, yet gives you the flexibility to cover larger maps. Just make sure they're all the same thickness, so you don't have places on larger maps where counters sit at an angle.

I treid that once. How do you keep the plexi pieces from slipping? Even the slightest slip can disrupt a game.
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Evil Bob
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I just bought 2 sheets of plexiglass a few days ago from a Home Depot here in Montreal. I bought them at 3mm thickness at $22/sheet. They're heavy enough to flatten the stubbornest maps (paper, cardboard, or mounted) but small and light enough individually to still be mobile. And at this thickness you don't much/any floating effect.

My sheets came in a standard 24"x36". There was no need to have them cut. Most GMT maps seem to be 22"x34", so I've got about an inch border around maps. I originally tried poster frames ($17/ch at Walmart) but found out the hard way that my Eastfront II maps are 22.5"x34", just a bit too big for the frames. Also, for me the poster frame acrylic was so thin that the cardboard maps were actually causing the acrylic to bow upwards.

My questions to experienced plexi users is:

1. Do you clean all the smudges/oily fingerprints from your plexiglass? If so, what product do you use to clean them?

2. I'm thinking of rigging up a harness/handle system to make it easier to bring my plexi to conventions. Anyone have any good ideas?
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Mike
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At one time I thought about making a "picture frame" type contraption to put around maps, but the sheer number of different size maps made it impossible to pick a dimension. And I do not want to store 10 different sizes. I think having two or three pieces that are heavy enough not to slide do to accidental bumps is going to work for me. Storing the pieces when not in use is still an issue. I use the game table for a lot of different types of games and do not have wargames laying about on it for long. I suppose I need a bigger house with three huge game tables.
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Nomadic Gamer
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Thin as possible to reduce weight. They won't bend if you use multiple pieces and are easier to transport.
 
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Jim Jackson

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bbhalla wrote:
I just bought 2 sheets of plexiglass a few days ago from a Home Depot here in Montreal. I bought them at 3mm thickness at $22/sheet. They're heavy enough to flatten the stubbornest maps (paper, cardboard, or mounted) but small and light enough individually to still be mobile. And at this thickness you don't much/any floating effect.

My sheets came in a standard 24"x36". There was no need to have them cut. Most GMT maps seem to be 22"x34", so I've got about an inch border around maps. I originally tried poster frames ($17/ch at Walmart) but found out the hard way that my Eastfront II maps are 22.5"x34", just a bit too big for the frames. Also, for me the poster frame acrylic was so thin that the cardboard maps were actually causing the acrylic to bow upwards.

My questions to experienced plexi users is:

1. Do you clean all the smudges/oily fingerprints from your plexiglass? If so, what product do you use to clean them?

2. I'm thinking of rigging up a harness/handle system to make it easier to bring my plexi to conventions. Anyone have any good ideas?


As to question #1 I use Windex
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Darrell Hanning
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Hungadunga wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
My personal preference is multiple pieces that, when put together, can cover the largest game you're going to fit on your table, where each piece is not so small it cannot cover a single mapsheet by itself. This lets you get away with thinner sheets, yet gives you the flexibility to cover larger maps. Just make sure they're all the same thickness, so you don't have places on larger maps where counters sit at an angle.

I treid that once. How do you keep the plexi pieces from slipping? Even the slightest slip can disrupt a game.


I use painter's tape at the corners of the sheet, when necessary. It's usually only necessary when using more than one sheet. I'm talking about Using them with paper wargame maps, of course. With a mounted board (or tiles, such as with Lost Battles), tape at the corners is necessary more often.

Painter's tape leaves no residue, and doesn't pull up finish.
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