Author Topic: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.  (Read 2064 times)

Offline Andrew May

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Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« on: August 02, 2013, 11:30:31 PM BST GMT »
Hey guys long time no see, I've been documenting my new gaming table over on Lead Adventure forum and thought you guys would appreciate a look too.http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=56642.0



Over the course of our hobby, I'm sure we've all considered utilising a cheap, common wallpaper pasting table for gaming. The thought has crossed my mind several times over the years but I've always discarded the idea, the tables are too long and narrow and pretty unstable but I had a brainwave a week or so ago, now I'm not sure if anybody else has had the same thought or even already built a table like this but it's a fresh idea to me so have look at what I've been up to.
 I'm sure many of you share my problem of having too little space for a real gaming set up, especially a permanent table with any thickness for landscaping. As I mentioned, I used a pasting table but anyone with a solid set of woodworking skills could adapt the idea to make a board with different dimensions. I however have fairly rudimentary woodworking skills and an old pasting table otherwise gathering dust. My intention is to cover the table in cobbles/paving to use for VSF and dungeon crawls but I should think it'd work well with grass or hills or whatever you like.
The idea is to actually build the board on the inside of the table, thus protecting it once it's folded away also I'm changing the edge that the table folds along making a nice square surface, it's hard to explain so I hope I make sense, here come the pictures.
Here's what I did so far......

Take one ordinary pasting table.



It opens like this, pretty useless....



Still, open it flat and carfully remove the legs.



Now remove the hinges.



Now turn the halves 90deg and put the hinges on, this time on the other edge (I drilled guide holes using the hinge as a template).


Next take the legs and cut them down to fit the inside width to use as braces (the fibreboard surface is pretty flimsy!)


Now with white glue underneath and screws in each end through the frame, fix the bracing.


I found some more wood to brace with in the shed and used the off cuts of the legs to make cross bracing. Make sure your extra braces are the same thickness as the legs or it will cause problems later!! (as I found out) lol


Next using guide holes drilled from the other side I used little screws to fix the bracing securely to the board. There's no real depth to the fibreboard for countersinking so the next step is pretty essential.


I got two cheap foamed sleeping mats for camping and glued them to the board. This covers the screwheads and protects the board. It'll also protect the board from slipping off of where ever you lay it.


Here's it finished, the edges were fixed down with superglue.


And here it is folded again.


And weighted with heavy books to help the gluing (I actually added more and distributed them more evenly).


Next comes the infill, I used really cheap polystyrene packing sheets to build the bilk of the board. Some areas have been left shallow as I want to add scenic elements below the regular playing surface, you could carve a river or trenches or whatever you like (allowing for bracing).


Next the surface layers of blue styrofoam are built up. If you plan better you might only need one layer.
I forgot to photograph between stages here but in the picture I have used a plane, chisels and belt sander to reduce the height of the two lengths of wood that form the internal section of the frame. When I add the next layer of styrofoam they should be fairly flush with the playing surface, only needing a little work to disguise (that's the plan at least!)  o_o


For added stability at the edges I've inserted short lengths of cut down cocktail stick, the theory is that they should help reduce the compression that could occur from knocks or leaning players! 


Here's where I am now, all surfaces ready to receive the next layer of styrofoam (I'm actually waiting for more styrofoam glue to arrive!) The plan is to make a collapsed basement and sewer into the two larger open areas and leave the others paved to recieve senic inserts, whether they be just steps or objectives.

Thanks for reading, I hope to see more tables like this appear in due course. I will post an update once the glue arrives amd I've had time to work on it more. :D



Here I am for today.
Last layer of styrofoam went on and to my relief is pretty flush with the internal frame edges (the filler isn't as caked on as it looks!) All of the paved areas are Wills plastic sheets and there's some other dressed stone plastic sheeting on the walls that I picked up from 4D but didn't notice the brand name.
You can't see well in the photos but one recess is the collapsed basement and one is a sewer (it looks a bit like it is purposely open rather than collapsed  but it might look better painted).
Next up I've got some basketball textured fabric to make cobbles, loads of putty work to blend and edge the paving and some grit to glue on!  

Edit: The filler is B&Q brand flexible filler to try to avoid cracking, we'll see how it holds up.

I'll keep you guys up to date.

Offline Local_Ork

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2013, 12:58:26 AM BST GMT »
Wow, this is really cool!

I think it could be done slightly different (not necessary better) tho.

For one You could replace/alter hinge so when You close whole thing there would be gap for legs. You can do it by mounting them on metal rectangle with 2 rows of holes (no holes on my render, too lazy but I hope You get the idea). This way You can hide legs inside folded table (they can be screwed on metal bars too I suggest on the opposite of hinge). Handle would need some work tho. Now having legs inside is good because...

Table should fold when You pull center up, this would prevent accidents which cause it fold inside when someone would lean on it. As You made "protectors" from foam, so terrain being on "outside" of folded table should not be a problem (You could reinforce it with hard layer from compressed wood pulp [forgot the name] or thick cardboard).

You didn't need to make it "permanent" table too. Each halve is basically giant tray You can insert any number of premade "mini boards" (4 in one half in my example). They would sit inside pretty tight, but also been able to be removed/swapped.

Also if size is appropriate for that maybe You can sew some sort of simple backpack and/or bag? I googled (similar?) table to Your and it measure 89x56x7 cm when folded (also weight 5kg). Hell, You probably could make 2 (separate) and maybe fit both in 89x56x~25 cm and under 15 kg package?


Anyway Your table gave me an idea I would explore (if I would build my table, probably from scratch to cut cost down a bit) when I would have time and/or will to build such thing.

Offline ink the troll

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 07:43:49 AM BST GMT »
(...) For one You could replace/alter hinge so when You close whole thing there would be gap for legs. You can do it by mounting them on metal rectangle with 2 rows of holes (no holes on my render, too lazy but I hope You get the idea). This way You can hide legs inside folded table (they can be screwed on metal bars too I suggest on the opposite of hinge). Handle would need some work tho. Now having legs inside is good because...

Table should fold when You pull center up, this would prevent accidents which cause it fold inside when someone would lean on it. As You made "protectors" from foam, so terrain being on "outside" of folded table should not be a problem (You could reinforce it with hard layer from compressed wood pulp [forgot the name] or thick cardboard). (...)

I think the idea is not to use this as separate table but rather to use this on top of another table, so there's no need for legs and no danger of a game ending prematurely due to the table folding.
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Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2013, 10:26:35 AM BST GMT »
Exactly as Ink says.

Offline Local_Ork

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 10:43:46 PM BST GMT »
Ah, I see.
I assumed "portable" mean "doesn't require actual table". If it would fold in other direction You could buy few timber trestles (they can be separate) and use it outdoor (like barbecue-wargaming party).



They aren't heavy, so still fit "portable" requirement and they would not have to be attached (I must admit my idea to have legs inside was kind of... problematic. Not bad, just hard to pull off correctly).

I *think* something like this ("_" is table half, " || H ||" are 3 trestles, middle one put sideways to prevent folding) could work even with Your current hinge
__ __
|| H ||

But *I* still would try to reverse folding direction, just to be absolutely-positively safe. That's me being paranoid.


"Permanent" terrain is kind of bummer tho. If You would make another one this is thing You may want to consider.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 11:08:38 PM BST GMT by Local_Ork »

Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 09:34:21 AM BST GMT »
Plenty of food for thought, thanks LO!

Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 09:34:56 AM BST GMT »
Hey everyone, some more progress has been made on the board.


Here's the next stage. The red area is suede "basketball" textured fabric, it will look just like cobbles when it's painted. I glued it down with a thin layer of PVA, there may be a better adhesive solution however as I had a lot of annoyance with it wrinkling unevenly when it absorbed the moisture. A coat of thinned glue to seal it and a few hours in the sun got it tight as a drum again but we'll see if I've got it completely sealed when it comes to painting it. The brown areas are dry soil, collected  from the garden and sieved to remove pebbles etc. Again I used PVA to glue and seal it, brused at the edges to feather it out a bit.



Close ups. I'm going to sculpt "curbs" with putty and add more filler and cut card loose flagstones.


And now for the "baffles" I'm going to cover bits of 2mm plasticard with the same textures as the board to eliminate the built in terrain features, to give more flexibility for gaming.

Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 10:44:20 AM BST GMT »
I had a little time over the weekend to construct an experimental baffle (as mentioned above) for obscuring the recessed areas on the board. hopefully these pics should give you (and I) a better Idea of what the board will end up looking like.



I covered the 2mm plasticard with some Wills sheeting, "basketball" fabric, a little dry soil, some cut card flagstones and sculpted some curbstones with "greenstuff" putty.



Next up came a coat of primer followed by a couple of layers of ink washes and drybrushed grey. I used watered down Talens acrylic ink for the washes, mainly black but a little brown/green/sepia for tonal variety. Some cheap acrylic craft paint did fine for the drybrushing, a thin wash of ink over that helped finish it off.


Here's the finished article, A coat of matt varnish has been applied.


Afterwards I glued a sheet of 2mm neoprene foam fabric to the underside to protect the tabletop and help it sit nicely on any slightly uneven surface.

Offline Zack Cart

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 02:23:48 AM GMT GMT »
Oooh, looking great! I've been wanting to try something like this, since the GF probably wouldn't be thrilled at having a room of our small house nearly filled with a permanent gaming table. (she's very understanding, but...there ARE limits...)

Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 10:59:57 PM BST GMT »

Progress at last!
Hit the link or sig for more teasers.
http://steamandaether.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/building-world.html

Offline TheDuke

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2014, 11:49:52 PM BST GMT »
I like it. Feel inspired.
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Offline Andrew May

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 12:01:55 AM BST GMT »
Right fellows, final steps now I have a minute to collate and post.





The finishing stages were fairly straight forward. The rest of the tabletop was finished in the same manner as the earlier stages with the exception that I found sculpting curbs monumentally tedious and I ended up using lengths of styrene and card to edge whole sections of paving. It's not turned out to be to bad of a compromise, once plenty of cut card flagstones were scattered around it all blended together nicely. 




Next up I covered the board with an outrageous amount of grey spray primer and panted the frame in black acrylic. This was followed by the same wash and drybrush technique as on the test baffles. The finished effect has proved devilishly hard to capture using my feeble photography skills! Hopefully the close up images posted previously will display the effect better than the shots of the whole board.

Next I finished the rest of the baffles, moving these around the tabletop when I set up the board should provide some nice variation to gameplay.

And here's a shot of the board with all of the baffles in place.

As I continue building terrain I'll show off the board on the VSF forum of Lead Adventure.

Offline Zack Cart

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Re: Build a storable, portable, folding gaming table.
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2014, 11:25:01 PM BST GMT »
Very nice. Portable, fold-up board, you say? Veeeeeerry niiiice! Still want to create something like this.