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Subject: Exploring a new prototyping tool: Melt Plastic Beads rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I had some of those plastic bead for many years without realizing their hidden potential. First I though of using them as regular tokens but they were too small and they easily rolled on the table.

Then for some reason, when I went to Ikea, the idea clicked that I could easily do 8 bit graphics with them and eventually token. SO I decided to buy a bucket and see what I could do. Here is what I got from ikea:



The bucket cost me 6$ and the plates were 3$ if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, the colors are not sorted, since I am color blind, I sort them manually on demand when I lack of a color. Normally, the beads are intended to be used to make something like this:



The idea is simple, you place all the beads on your plate. Then you put a parchment/waxed paper on the top of it and use a hot iron to melt the surface to make the beads glue to each other. I try to melt both sides to maximize the solidity and make sure they are no loose beads.

I have done further experimentation including using plastic glue to make 3D model and I had the following results:



A 5x5 token measures 1 inch square. On this picture I made several tokens like the yellow orange coin, the X token and the heart. I made 2 version of the heart, one melted normally and one melted the the maximum. The max melted tokens looks very interesting. Not only they have the thickness of a card board token but they hold much better together.

For the 3d model, there is a token/pawn and a ship. I simply melted each later separately and then glued them together. Same thing for the tokens on the right that could represent cities and castles. The red one has been max melted.

I am investigating the possibilities to make various models of ships like pictured below:



It could be used for a game similar to twilight imperium or eclipse where you need ships of various size and models. Maxmelting them should give better results. The only drawback is the rounded corners, but I imagine if you are perfectionist enough you could cut the exceeding edges.

Anyways, I was wondering if any of you had other ideas on how to use these beads for board game prototyping?

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Nate K
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Cool!
 
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Andrew H
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This is still a piece, but they could be used to create abstract games like Blockus too.

It might work as a abacus type stat tracker too. Build a long row of beads, and balance over another row as stats increase or decrease
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Noah Gadea
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At first I read this and thought, "Now wtf would someone use this for?"

And then I looked at those lil spaceships and I love this idea!

I'm gonna totally use this! Thank you
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Once upon a time, I thought I'd make my own Catan hexes using this. I couldn't find a hex template, and my wife had also vetoed the idea of having a lot of these out on the dining room table... this was back when my son was just 1 or 2 years old, so it was a potential choking hazard.

I've long forgotten about it. But now, you may have just given me the answer to how I'll make custom components for some of my games. (at the very least, Links, Logins, and Avatar tokens for my Log In E-Scape game.)
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Oh.. almost forgot... the reason I was exploring Catan hexes using these...

Interlocking Hex tiles.

I was not able to experiment on these beads, tho.
 
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Trainer BoBondi
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This is very nice. The funny thing is that I was looking at my daughters' beds pieces earlier this week and saw the board gaming component potential. My first idea was to make a custom Just 4 Fun Colors. I will post it if I get the time to make it.
 
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Peter Talbot
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First of all, this is brilliant and would work perfect for some prototyping I have in mind. I'm not familiar with that type of bead. Could you be more specific or tell me where one could find them?

Thank you!
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Peter O
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murkfury wrote:
First of all, this is brilliant and would work perfect for some prototyping I have in mind. I'm not familiar with that type of bead. Could you be more specific or tell me where one could find them?

Thank you!


We use to play with these a lot when we were kids.

They are called perler beads, a google search gives you many options too find some.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Last year someone made a batch of Robo Derby Express minis out of plastic beads.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Could you be more specific or tell me where one could find them?


It's pretty common, there are 2 size of beads and you can find them in craft store or even wal-mart. The jar above was bought at Ikea which was pretty cheap for the quantity.

I will make other test by placing the beads inside the 4 stud instead of in the stud to see if the melting is different when max melting. It might spill less on the outside.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I was at AC Moore (arts & crafts store) yesterday, looking to resupply my wooden bits (cubes and discs) for my summer DIY projects.... And I remembered to go and check the Perler Beads aisle.

Lo and behold ... I didn't notice it before... but they have a layout that allows for the beads to be placed in a hex shape.

I got myself a small package, since my son still has his old collection. And once at home, I found out that his collection does have a hex layout as well.

Anyway ... now trying to see what I can do... Aside from my aforementioned Catan hex tiles.
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Al Colder
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Thank you for sharing this idea Sturv. I think it is great.

The only thing I would suggest is to be careful with some plastics as they might be toxic when you melt them.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Pictures!


This are made out of the various template/layout "plates". I've put them onto my cutting board, which has marks for measurements in inches (each "square" is a square inch).

As Eric said, 5-beads in a row measures about an inch.

The shapes on the left half and the big hex on the bottom right were all made with the hex template, and you can see how the beads are spaced regularly, but with staggered rows.

The two shapes on the top right side were made with a circle and square template. The square template obviously has rows and columns evenly aligned (and match the pics that Eric posted). The circle template starts out with a small hex layout, but then it widens up a bit to allow for an even circumference.


And for those curious as to how these tiles might tesselate ... two feasible methods:



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Eric Pietrocupo
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That is awesome. I'll have to find an hex template. I can always rotate my square plate as a diamond, but it does not make an equilateral hex.

The inner part of my circular plate is hexed shape, but when the radius exceed 2 rows it's much more circular than hex shaped.

I was thing to use those beads to make pieces similar to wooden disks found in many euro BG.

Making large catan hex is interesting too. By thinking about it, I think I could make custom "that's life" octagonal tiles with those beads.
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Meaker VI
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lixicat wrote:
The only thing I would suggest is to be careful with some plastics as they might be toxic when you melt them.


These are meant for use in kids' crafts and are joined with a hot iron. As long as you don't turn them black/burn them, I think toxicity isn't a problem.

This is pretty slick and should probably be in the DIY section, I'm going to add it to the sticky there. I got a bunch of these things to use as mass-counters for a large risk map, it didn't occur to me to use them for model/token/object making.
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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Here are a few bits I made with these:
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Nice, the 3D cube is new. You could make 3d structures with this. A bit like those plastic ship that comes as a card (Pirates of the spanish main)
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