Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tournament Transport Box

I really like playing in tournaments - it's a great way to really learn a game system and have a lot of fun doing so.  One thing I don't like is my current mode of troop transport which consist of lots of 14 5/8" x 10 1/4" x 3 3/8" plastic boxes from "Really Useful Boxes".  These are great from a storage and use around the house viewpoint but not all that handy in moving about to a tournament.  I also don't have a display tray which some people use to move the troops from table to table during a tournament.

So since I have this new cabinet making workbench and some shiny new power tools (the old ones just didn't fit with the new workbench - at least that's what I told the Mrs), I think this is a good project for this weekend.  I have devised a radical new way of thinking for a project like this - rather than start cutting wood, I should come up with a detailed plan and some capabilities for the box.  By the way, this is were you come in via the comment box.  I'm not all that bright and will rely on "crowd-sourcing" for concept ideas.  Oh yeah, it feels good to be trendy!

I'm thinking a box that has the following dimensions 18 inches x 18 inches x 5.5 inches high will provide more than enough room to hold troops and rule books.  An 18" square may be a bit awkward to carry around so we'll need a good set of handles.  If I use standard 1x6 stock lumber for the frame, which is 5.5 inches high and .75 inches wide, the case will have an interior open space dimension of 16.5 inches square which is enough to fit up to 6 battle foam and/or Dave's Baggage train trays.

Removable Top:
I'd like the top to be removable to be used as a transport tray from table to table.  I'm also planning on making multiple tops so that they can be scenic in different ways.  It would just be gauche to show up to a desert themed tournament with a Northern European themed scenic top.  If we're going to do this, lets do it right.

I still need to figure out a way to securely fix the top to the box for transport but I don't want the latch to be visible.  I'm thinking velcro may be may best friend here

I'd like the box to really look nice and so want to do some fancy joinery work.  I'm leaning towards finger Joints (pictured below) as they look nice and are relatively easy to do on a router table.  Finger joints really "pop" if your using two types of wood

Another option is a keyed miter joint which despite having less "cutting" is harder to do and requires me to build a fairly complicated jig

Since this is a proof of concept, lets stick with the basics and go with a finger joint.  If I like how it works, we can always try something fancier.

For the first attempt it's always best to go with stock pine.  I'll use furniture grade 1x6's for the sides and top grade 1/4 inch plywood for the top and bottoms.  I've got some 1/2 inch stock to use as a frame for the top but may bump that up to one inch to prevent warping.  If I don't botch this up, I can always use better quality wood like walnut or oak for future "Show-Off Boxes"

OK here's were I need your help - what else shelf the box do

- I'd like if to have an ability to hold open a rule book (like a cook book stand)
- have a compartment for small items (dice, markers etc)
- be stackable (I may store these in a slotted tray so that might not be a goal)
- what would you add?


Michael Mills said...

Q. What would you add?
A. Coffee/tea making facilities and a couple of hot brunettes to carry the bugger around for you and/or do the brewing up while you play.

jmilesr said...

Mt Mills - you are a man of true vision!

Syrinx0 said...

I'm not skilled enough to create my own, but if I did I would allow for separating the inside into compartments with removable partitions. Perhaps you could add a removable cup holder for the coffee as well...

Paul O'G said...

What about a thin lid that slides on and off on grooves routed into the inner edges of the box?
If you had that an inch or so below the lip, you could use it as your die rolling area during a game

I'd also add some nice brass corner pieces to finish it off

Lasgunpacker said...

Wow, sounds like quite a project (and far beyond my meager woodworking skills).

You could do the "lid" with magnets, which should be easy to inset into the top and bottom of the lid. Nominal 1" wood should have plenty of room for 1/4 or larger magnet.

You might as well have the "terrain" inset with a rim made out of molding to give a picture frame effect. Inset again held in place by magnets, removed by a small piece of terrain you can use as a handle.

Make the box wider than your foam insert, then have a "slot" to hold your army book, or a divided area for dice/tape storage (depending on how high the box gets).

Make it slightly taller, and have a slide out board to hold your open book? (could even have a hinge at the end, so that the part which pulls out then folds down to the table at an angle).

Integrated dice roller where you drop dice in the top, and they roll out at the bottom?

Felt or similar bottom?

Theme the box to look like a Napoleonic officer's traveling desk?

Empire of Ghosts did a tourny tray recently that might have some ideas to steal.

You could also take a look at some of the accessories for the tables made by Geekchichq.

And finally, cup holders may seem gauche, but a flask sized brandy decanter accessible by a hinged lid...

jmilesr said...

Great ideas guys
- thanks