Wednesday, September 26, 2018

File and Troop Storage Case: The Drawers

Both units (I'm making two) have 14 drawers each so that's a total of 28, 10 inch x 16.5 inch drawers I need to make.  They need to be pretty precise dimensionally as there's only 1/8 inch leeway in the widths of the drawer slots.

As with most repetitive wood working projects that require precision - the answer is "make a jig".  In this case the jig is a simple U-shaped frame that defines the outside dimensions of each drawer.  One end of the jig was left open to make it easier to put the drawer pieces in.

At the this point the jig has been used to make about 24 drawers so is a little beat up but it still works.  The jig is just some straight strips of plywood clamped in place.  One screw (left center)  used to hold the frame as it was hard to clamp there.
Step one is to place the four pieces that make up the drawer sides into the jig.  The two end pieces are 1/2 inch plywood 10 inches long and 2.5 inches high with a 1/8 inch rabbit cut along one long side.  The rabbit will help hold the bottom in place.

The two long sides are 15.5 inches long and 2 3/8 inches high so they along with the bottom of the rabbit groves.
I'm using a simple butt joint here (glueing the ends together).  a thing bead of wood glue is added to each end of the long pieces and then the sides are assembled together.  It's important to everything is square here as it makes the rest of the steps really easy.
I cut some spacers to insert inside the drawers to keep the sides from bowing in.  I had intended for the spaces to not be permanent and for the previous drawers that was the case.  For the last few, I had run out of 1/8 inch plywood that was 16 inches long and had to use shorter cutoff sections.  These were into 8 x 10 inch lengths.  doing so requires that a support brace be installed across the point where the two bottom section meet.

The first bottom section is placed so I can mark where to put the spacer and also make sure the other bottom section is cut to the exact length it needs be.
And now both sections are in place.  The seem where the two bottom section meet in the middle run along the center space.
 A bead of glue is added along the bottom edges and after placing the floor sections the whole thing is weighted down with whatever is handy in the shop.
To ensure a tight fit, I pushed up with a straight piece of plywood against the open end of the jig  and hold it there for a minute of two while the glue initially sets up.
If I've done everything right, the glue squeeze out should be evenly distributed across the edges.  As you can see in the picture there's a little gap in the center left (right next to the clamp).  I mark these with a pencil and will touch them up after taking the drawer out of the jig.

Once all the gaps have been marked the squeeze is cleaned up with a damp shop towel.  It takes about 30 minutes for the glue to set up enough to remove the drawer from the jig.  When the drawer if removed I can also clean up any squeeze out on the interior as the glue is still soft.
A last shot of how I tough up the glue gaps - add a little more glue and then re-clamp.

Not the most exciting of gaming posts but storage is an important part of the hobby, especially of one is married!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Test Subject Filing Cabinet & Contest Winners!

The secret project is a test subject filing cabinet for the wife, who is a surgeon.  When involved in research she typically keeps stuff in tidy piles in her locked office.  There are a wide variety of materials - papers, x-rays, thumb drives, preserved tissue samples, etc.  Given that variety, her neat little pile method doesn't always work well.

In reality almost all the materials outside of the samples can be stored digitally, but lets just say the Mrs hasn't fully adapted to a electronic world.

So I decided to build her a cabinet that will be lockable (need to add the doors).  There are 14 drawers that slide out which should be enough because her tests batches typically run at 10.  Each draw is 16.5 inches long x 10 inches wide x 2.5 inches high.
 In order to reduce weight and because I'm cheap, I didn't use traditional commercial drawers slides and made the simple rails you see in the second picture.
 Making 14 drawers is a bit tedious but easy if you break the process down into steps.  I'll do a separate post about that later.
There were a lot of drawers.

As for the contest, there were 8 submissions and while none were exactly right I'd have to judge Gator as being closest to correct!

Congrats Gator!

As for the random winner from the remaining 8, I listed them out in order of submission and used the wizards of the coast online dice roller for a D8:

1 William D
2 Martin C
3 Francis L
4 Carl H
5 Ray R
6 Michael M
7 Hamster C
8 Reroll (of course)

The results? - well I was a bit surprised when the Wizards of the coast decide to roll a number "5"

Congrats to Ray for winning the second dice tower.

Gator: Please let me know via a comment how to reach you by email so we can figure out how to send the tower to you.  Ray - I have your information.

The towers will be built over the next few weeks.

Congrats to the winners and thanks for all the submission!

One final note, some of you may be thinking - "wow, that design looks like it would be great to store miniatures in".  I had the same thoughts also.  So I'm building a second one - one for the wife and her horrible human experiments and one for me and the storage of my noble miniature troops.

It's a his & her set - I'm such a romantic.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back in the Workshop and a Contest

 I've been medically cleared to go back into the workshop and have started a few projects that have been on the wife's "I want this" list for a long time.  It does feel good not to have stitches anymore.

The contest is simple - guess what I'm building for the wife and you'll win a custom wooden dice tower from your's truly.

Lets see, this project needs some wood,
 and clamps, lots of clamps
Oh no - there are some scribblings on one of the wood spacers.  I wonder if that might provide a clue?

Is this project gaming related?  It could be if one uses a very generous definition of what wargaming is.

I'm doing the contest in part to say thank you for all the well wishes I got over the past 4 months as I went through my health drama.  They were all very helpful and greatly appreciated.


Contest Rules:
This is pretty simple - add your guesses as a comment to this post and I'll throw of the correct ones into a hat and pick a winner.  I make no representations that this contest will be managed in a fair and balanced way.

To make things interesting, I'll throw all of the incorrect guesses into another hat and pick a winner from that group also - yes that means I'm making two dice towers.  Postage will be on me as long as you live on the planet earth.

EDIT: It seems I'm really not all that good at running contests as I forgot to include a end date for submissions - lets fix that and say the cut off date for guesses will be September 23, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

If only it was Hunting Season

Right off the back porch there were three bucks just lounging in my yard (the third is out of the picture frame).  I took this from my car as I just drove up.

We rarely see bucks in groups but it does happen every now and then.

I invited them to come back on November 25th.

Friday, September 14, 2018

3D Printed 15mm Fortified Farm - Done (well almost..._

 The farm is 95% done - I still need to paint the wagon and add some additional "farm-yard" details but the piece is pretty much ready for the table top.  I'm actually very pleased how it came out.

Once the buildings where painted they were given a black wash to bring out the details (no pictures of that step).  I was a little nervous doing this out of concern the wash would highlight all the print layers.  My concerns were somewhat valid but the whole look is fine.

I used a new (for me) wash formulation which was a 50/50 mix of water and matte medium, a few drops of flow aid and black and brown acrylic ink.  I'm finding ink based washes to be superior to paint based ones.   Like a lot of my recent scenery ideas, I got this one from the wonderful Black Magic Craft Youtube channel - if you like making scenery, go check it out.  Jeremy does fantasy and D&D stuff bit the techniques have a much wider set of applications.

After the wash dried, the next step was to add some flocking.  As silly as this sounds one of my most effective terrain "innovations" (that sounds a bit pompous) has been the use of sheet cake pans for scenicing.  Their really cheap, protect the table top and the sections (the triangles in each corner) are really useful for keeping different kinds of flock separate.

Once a project is done I pour the leftover flock into a bin and use it for basing .
 Different flock types were added by painting the base with diluted matte medium, sprinkling the flock on and then using an eye dropper to drop some more diluted matte medium on top.  Once the matte medium dries the flock is attached and will not come off.

 I would rotate the piece 90 degrees, work on a section and then rotate again.  After 3 full turns it was done.

 The "ivy is Woodland Scenics tree foliage cut into small pieces.  once trimmed the "ivy" is soaked in the diluted matte medium and paster to the wall section.  I think they look very nice.

 The wagon is from Old Glory's Blue Moon Napoleonic line.  I may have ordered a lot of wagons and other army camp figs from them the past few weeks....
 Crap! I still need to make the gate, so maybe 93% finished rather than 95%.

The obligatory scale shot.  The overall piece is 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and will make a nice focal point on the table top.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It's kind of like Terrain building....

 Executive Management decried that we needed to add more sleeping capacity to out place in St Michaels and a bunk bed was procured.  My son and I (mostly my son) spent a day putting this thing together as it came in just under 1,000,000 parts.  This unit will likely get it's first use in November when i'll be hosting another gaming event.
I'm not really a cat person but Izzy seems to like me and has taken to sleeping on my shoulders.  At least I got a free coffee refill from my wife as I pointed out if she didn't get it for me  I'd have to disturb the cat.  I'm pretty sure I can only pull that stunt off once.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

3D Printed Wall Farm in 15mm scale - Basing and Initial Paint Up

A few weeks again the first test printing of a walled farmhouse in 15mm scale was finished.  It consists of 18 separate pieces and came out rather well.  My next step in of my 3D printing adventure is to see how well these things paint up.

 Since I'm experimenting, why not vary all the elements - so I'm also experimenting with different materials.  First up is the base- which is made of chip board.  Chip board is essentially the same thing one finds as a backer for legal pads.  Given this is 15mm, I did want to try something that would be thin so the base edge doesn't stand out.  I'm using 1/16 inch thick board.  The pieces in 6 inches wide by 11.5 inches long.

The chip board I purchased is defined as medium weight and, in hind sight, I should have gone with the heavy weight version as I think that will be more durable.

With any card-board based material that's used for basing it's important to protect all of the surfaces (even the bottom) from moisture and wear and tear.  Once the piece is done on top I'll paint the bottom of the base with a 50/50 mix of black craft paint and PVA glue.

For ground texturing and adhesion I'm using a Vallejo ground texture resin.  I've used this stuff for basing minis for years and it works great but never tried it on a larger project.

I put a masking tape barrier down on the work surface to prevent the resin along the edges from adhering to the world bench.   How did I know how to do this? - painful personal experience very early in my miniature hobby experience.  Perhaps a post on hobby mishaps is long overdue...

It doesn't take a lot to cover the piece and when dry it will provide a very nice ground texture that takes paint well.

The lower level pieces are all in place.  I used CA glue (aka super glue) to attach the pieces to each other.  One of the benefits of the resin is it acts like a glue as it dries so it will affix the farm to the base.

All weighted down to ensure everything dries nice and flat.

 The resin dries in a few hours and then the next step is to prime the piece.  Rather than a standard primer, I made up a custom batch by mixing some Liquitex Gesso (a surface prep) and dark brown craft paint (roughly 2/3 to 1/3).

The Gesso is thicker than normal primer and tends to fill in the striations (layers) that are a result of the printing process.  I really liked how the new primer mix worked out.
First basic paint up of the buildings.  The colors used are:

Vallejo light grey primer for the buildings and walls

Vallejo Red Leather for the roof tiles

Vallejo "Old Wood" for the doors and shutters.

I need to go back and touch up the details and scenic the base once the paint has fully dried.

Perhaps a scratch built a set of wooden gates for the entry way would be a nice addition?