Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Building some prototypes... I love it and I hate it!

I'm continuing to work with the idea that you make a cardstock template that will lift up the face of the tile, and there will be post connectors and tile connectors that can slip together. I've turned the slots on the post connectors 45 degrees, so they go in diagonally.

[see the booboo I made?]

I did my first test on one side of a 6" tile using a single cardstock template to lift up the face. That, as I suspected, didn't give me enough room to easily slip the posts in place. Wiggling it a little with the tip of my craft knife allowed me to get things in place. Snug fit, but I guess that's a good thing.

[First face done... Sloppy, but a learning experience...]
I'm trying now with two layers of cardstock to lift the face. I'll also see about edging the darn thing BEFORE gluing... You'd think this was the first build I've ever done!

Oh, and lesson learned. Don't have GIMP print transparent regions... it chooses BLACK, not WHITE. :(

[...time passes...]

 [A corner post connector in place]

[A corner post inserted on the connector]

[A top-down view of the tile with a corner and side connector, and a tile connector]

[Closer view of the connectors in place]

Ok. I screwed up a lot, but it came out ok. First, with 2x cardstock, it all goes together nicely. I think it'll be easier to hand-cut than robo-cut, honestly, simply because you can glue to sheets of cardstock together first, then cut them at the same time, rather than having to robo-cut two pages, then get them lined up perfectly. If you robo-cut, you can always trim any bits that don't line up great.

Second, my cutfiles had a booboo, so I fixed it by hand after gluing the pieces together.

Then, I printed my floor from GIMP rather than from Silhouette Studio. This means I didn't have the cutlines on it to guide my cutting of the corner/edge squares... Oh, and I printed from gimp with almost all of the image transparent. That means I got a 6" tile and the rest of the page was printed pure black. Ugh. That made it even harder to cut the tile properly... I ended up about 1/32" too small in each direction.

Since I had no cutting guide, but I needed to cut the corners and edges off, I glued the spacer cardstock to the face first. That let me cut the corners and edges out at roughly the right side. Roughly... They're a little wonky.

Then, to mount it to the foamcore, I used spray glue on the whole back of the cardstock, which meant I had to wipe clean the areas I didn't want glue. Not that bad, but it took time.

Only after it was assembled did I realize that I really should have edged everything. :-P

But now that it's together, it looks really nice.

I might make the posts (and connectors) a bit bigger, which would bring them closer to TLX compatible. Actually... I just slipped some of my TLX posts onto my connectors, and with walls inserted, they pretty much stay in place. I will continue to experiment with this.

[This is my new tile with some of my kitbashed TLX walls attached.]

Note that I didn't bother edging the tiles. I'm not sure folks really care that much. Adding edging adds unnecessary complexity. I think if you have exposed edges, I could convince myself that a plug-in railing system would work well.

Pictures tomorrow.

Notes to self: 
1) Try making the posts 1/16" bigger (and the holes to cut)...
2) Consider a slotted post rather than using pins... Consider flat walls rather than boxes...
3) Make the post connectors shorter... 
4) Post connectors should be textured at least with black gradient around possibly exposed areas.
5) If the post connectors were rectangles rather than triangles, they'd fold flat!
6) Make a template for printing on plain copy paper for cutting the tile and for placing the textures. 


  1. Waouh! Impressive!
    It seems you're getting close to a replacement system !!

  2. Interesting idea. With those post connectors, though, don't you run into problems with the tabs from the walls not having room to slide into the posts? Those connectors look like they'd get in the way.

    1. Yes, and no. Yes, it was a little snug, but it still worked (as pictured). But, my plan (I made some notes at the end of the post...) is to try making the connectors shorter to cope with the possibility of the tabs for compatibility. I'm also in the process of upping the size of the post spots from 1/4" to 5/16", which I think is more compatible. I'll post an update over the weekend when I get a chance to build another tile.