Friday, February 26, 2016

Spark of inspiration that may finally pay off!

I admit I've backed off from experimenting with modular builds for a while now. I've released a handful of static buildings that are exterior only, and I just released a ruined building set that has interior textures out of necessity. It's even a little bit modular and kinda lets you fold flat the structures.

But, I still want modular builds!

My latest plan seems to have enough merit for me to try for real on a couple tiles. What I've done is carved parallel slits in the corner of the tile that will be affixed to foamcore.  Then, I've got little tabs that can slip under the tile face through the slits and fold upward, giving the posts something to grab onto. You only need to slip in the tabs that you are using, and they aren't glued in place. The tabs aren't even textured, so there's no laborious edging to do.

Time is always my enemy. Tonight, I've got a cub scout overnight camp to live through, and who knows what has been planned for me this weekend. My hope is that I will be able to take one of my released sets and make a set of 3" or 6" tiles, some posts and walls, and see if everything really goes together nicely. I also need to prove to myself that I can hand-cut these things AND that it doesn't look like poo when I'm done.

The scraps that I cobbled together work pretty well, though, so optimism continues to reign supreme.


  1. So, am I understanding this correctly that it's like you're putting in something that's similar to TLX anchors, but they get tucked into the wrapper through 2 holes? So, instead of a normal anchor on the edge of a tile that would have 4 little flaps sticking up, it would only have 2? Or am I reading too much into that?

  2. So, on a TLX tile you would glue a corner anchor. It would be a square with two adjacent flaps. When not in use you would flatten them as much as possible.

    What I'm working on is cutting two parallel slits into the corners of the cardstock where you'd normally glue the anchor. If you need to affix a post, you'd slip the anchor into one slit, under the tile, and out the other slit at the edge of the tile. There are flaps that bend up on opposite sides to hold the post in place.

    I had time enough to make one untextured tile and it worked well with both corner and side posts. My next experiment will be a fully textured tile and post.

    I will post pics ASAP. Right now, I'm camping on the floor of the Boston museum of science...

  3. Ok. That sounds like what I was envisioning. How would that work with a 3-way or 4-way post that spans 2 tiles, though? Would you just make a larger anchor and have it span across 2 tiles like that?

    I applaud your continued efforts, by the way. TLX is a very well designed system for modularity, but it's so dang much detailed work to get everything together and I hate how those anchors get in the way of minis and props. Personally, I've been trying to design something using 3D printing to replace the foamcore and that mimics TLX tabs and makes anchors unnecessary. What I came up with so far only works well for 2 way posts. Its the other type of posts that I'm struggling with.

    1. Argh. I lost my long-winded reply. Summary:

      First tile works OK. I think I will design a cutting mask for the foamcore that will hide the slots better for white foamcore... basically print black squares where it will show through. The slip-in tabs will get wonky over time, but there's nothing to them, and they're totally interchangeable since they're essentially not textured. I suspect making a sandwich baggie full of them will last a good long while.

      Here's a test 6" tile with cutfile:

      Not sure how long I'll leave the file there.

      I'm going to make three more tiles so I can experiment with connecting them and building out a floorplan. I suspect the slip-in tabs will be hard to work with when the tiles are assembled, but that may be an OK trade-off. My thinking was that a 3-way or 4-way post that needs to span multiple tiles would require putting slip-in tabs into each tile where the post will attach. So, you might have to insert a couple (at least two) corner tabs for a 4-way post, though 3 or 4 would hold it stronger.

      If you want to put a corner post into the side of a 6" tile, just use a corner slip-in tab. It seems to hold in place well enough.

    2. Thanks for uploading that. It really helps to visualize what you're describing. And it's kinda what I thought you were doing. It would be interesting to see how well it works. I'm envisioning that the slip-in tabs won't provide enough resistance to hold in a post well, but I could be wrong.

    3. Actually, the posts are held in well. I was able to turn the tile upside down and the posts and walls held in fine. My fears are these:

      1. How well will the slip-in tabs hold up over time?

      2. How hard will it be to assemble a real layout?

      3. This pretty much kills speed mounting as an option.

      That last bit worries me.