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I'm looking to build myself a modular gaming table and had a few questions for those with previous table building experience.
First off I was wondering about the table surface material itself. My first thought was to use plywood for the table top but after reading a few posts both on here as well as elsewhere it seems MDF is a better material due to it's lack of splintering. Has anybody found a way of sealing or reinforcing the edges to prevent splintering? I'm a bit concerned about weight for this build (see below) as MDF is general heavy stuff but if it's the superior material then that's kinda hard to argue against.
Now the complex part, the modular build. Due to a lack of a suitable table in my apartment and an unwillingness to sit on the floor the plan is to build a table made up of 2'x2' tiles connected to each other with an independent detachable leg system. 2"x2" braces attached to the bottom of the tiles would both add additional stiffness as well as the mounting point for the hardware. A pair of 1/4" bolts with washers and wingnuts through the 2"x2" on the bottom should be strong enough to hold the tiles together as well as keep everything aligned. Now with wanted table layout connected together it needs to be held up off the ground. I was thinking of either building a ~3"-4" wide clamp with a table leg screwed on the bottom or a modified vise grip to clamp onto the underside braces also with an attached table leg. With either leg method I was thinking of widening the jaws to help prevent the leg from twisting out and the table collapsing.
Does this make sense to anybody else or have I gone off the deep end?
Instead of trying to make this a freestanding table, what about picking up a cheap wallpaper pasting table, they are fairly lightweight and provide plenty of support for a well-built table.
Personally, I've got a modular table built from 18mm MDF, I've drilled holes at intervals and use dowelling rods to hold it together. The beauty of this is that you can take a single 8' x 4' sheet of MDF, ask your supplied to cut it (here in the UK B&Q do a 3 or 4 cuts for free offer, then you pay for the rest) into 2' x 2' sections.
I've found that the pasting table works well for other things too, and as it folds in half it is easy enough to slide into a cupboard or under a bed (sometimes even behind the couch).
I can provide more details of my setup if needed, but I won't bore you as you seem to know what your wanting already.
Your modular idea sounds cool, not sure how I would do it.
You could always use sheets of foam insulation? Cut those into 2x2 squares and use dowling to hold the sections together. The down side is durability... not nearly as stout as wood. The upsides would be weight... very light; easy to model terrain right into the surface; you can get it in various thicknesses.
Absolutely use MDF over plywood. Yes, the plywood splinters easier, but you can fix that with sanding... and chances are you will be painting it too so that should eliminate splintering even further.
But the plywood will warp over time. A very short period of time, as it turns out. If you live in a moderately damp climate you will see warping in just a few days. Plywood is like a sponge for moisture.
MDF is much better, more rigid and will last a lot longer than the plywood. Plus it is easier to work with, IMO.
Hiya, I've made a few tables in my lifetime Your idea sounds a little complicated, and I can see it being a hassle changing the modular parts around with all those bolts..
I'd probably suggest making a 6'x4' 'tray' on legs which you can just pop your panels into. If the panels are high density foam they should be well protected within the main frame, no need for individual reinforcements..
and go with 3mm MDF, you can cut it with a stanley knife (though it will take a few runs of the knife to get it most of the way through.. then you can just snap it)
just my thoughts, happy building!
Here's an update on the off chance somebody is actually following this. The table surface(s) has been finalized on 1/2" MDF with a perimeter frame of 2"x2" lumber. Probably a bit overkill but it shouldn't fall apart on me. The leg idea has been changed to a 3/8" carriage bolt in the centre of the tile with a conventional table leg and a threaded insert.
As for the layout:
-Green panels are basic flat grassland. Only 3 are show here but there will be a total of 4. Add terrain as needed.
-Yellow panels are trenches/fortification/bunkers etc. I've only drawn the roads in but visualize zig-zaged trenches.
-Gray panels are urban terrain.
-The roads are shown as 3" wide but would be constructed at least 4" wide. The centre line of the roads remain the same, it's just the width changing. It's too much work to go back and change all of the drawing for a small detail.
-Panels A,B,F can all be rotated around without any effect on road alignment
-Panels B,F can be interchanged
-Panels C,E are semi-interchangeable
I still need to construct the cart to hold all of this as well. Plan for that is an open front bakery style cart with runners for the tiles, a few shelves for various scenery and a tray/organizer on the top for the hardware/dice/templates etc.
Last edited by Ironduke; July 5th, 2011 at 05:02.
Im liking the look of this.. ill be interested in seeing the work you do on the trenches as im planning on doing a board of my own with trenches based on CoD..
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