3D Battletech Hexmap - Jungle Ruins
#31
I love birch plywood. I use it for everything ever since discovering it.

This is great to watch you build. These maps are awesome.
#32
Doesnt the spray glue melt the foam? or do you seal it somehow?
#33
(06-22-2017, 04:05 PM)Nelmarticus Wrote: Doesnt the spray glue melt the foam? or do you seal it somehow?

I used Super 77 a lot making foam railroad terrain. The only time I had any adverse effects is when I used too much. Otherwise it is perfect sprayed directly on the foam.
#34
@ Nelmarticus- The solvent in the spray glue will dissolve foam so if I get a blob of glue that builds up on the nozzle of the can and it drips onto the foam it will make a little crater. Those craters are only a few millimeters deep and get hidden between layers, so it's no big deal.

On the plus side, the tiny bit of dissolving of the foam that occurs in the regular spray areas actually helps bond the foam layers together. This area of dissolved foam is no more thick than a sheet of paper unless you go heavy with the glue.

If I was better about holding my can further away and not being as generous with the glue, it likely wouldn't dissolve even that much.

Now if you DO want to dissolve the foam, acetone is the liquid for the job. Tongue


EDIT:
@locomoticopter - Thanks. I don't know how I missed your response. Smile
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#35
(06-22-2017, 04:13 PM)ableman33 Wrote: @ Nelmarticus- The solvent in the spray glue will dissolve foam so if I get a blob of glue that builds up on the nozzle of the can and it drips onto the foam it will make a little crater. Those craters are only a few millimeters deep and get hidden between layers, so it's no big deal.

On the plus side, the tiny bit of dissolving of the foam that occurs in the regular spray areas actually helps bond the foam layers together. This area of dissolved foam is no more thick than a sheet of paper unless you go heavy with the glue.

If I was better about holding my can further away and not being as generous with the glue, it likely wouldn't dissolve even that much.

Now if you DO want to dissolve the foam, acetone is the liquid for the job. Tongue


EDIT:
@locomoticopter - Thanks. I don't know how I missed your response. Smile

No big deal. The more experience that can be shared when someone asks a question the better.
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#36
To secure my wooden bridge pieces to the board I wanted to make a wood-to-wood connection rather than just gluing the pieces to the foam.

I bought some pine dowels to serve as pillars hidden within the foam.

But first I needed to trim the height of my foam layers where the wood would be. Using a scrap piece of wood leftover from when I cut out the bridge pieces, I marked all my foam where it needed to be cut.

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If I had thought ahead, I would have trimmed these pieces before gluing them to the others, but now I needed to trim them in place. I used a handheld Hotwire Foam Factory scuplting tool.

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Hotwire tools won't cut through paper, which means that paper masking tape would be a sufficient guide for my cutting wire. (If you ever do need to cut through something being held together with tape using a hotwire tool, then use plastic tape like Scotch tape. The wire will melt through it, especially the thin frosted "invisible" type tape.)

I buy thin 1/2-inch wide masking tape in bulk for use in my science classes for when we are doing engineering projects. Wider tape would just be a waste of material in most situations.

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With the foam trimmed, it was time to cut out the holes for my dowels to slide into. I used a forstner bit of just the right size to make my holes. Unfortunately, my bit wasn't quite long enough, so it left about a half inch of foam at the bottom of each hole. Trying to "squish" the foam by pressing in hard with my drill just ended up cracking some of my foam.  Sad I tried all sorts of other ways of getting that last bit of foam out cleanly and in a reasonable amount of time. Ultimately, after lots of different attempts, I ended up just taping my forstner bit to the end of a much longer bit, using some stiff ceiling hanger wire and tape to rigidify the joint. I then turned this by hand until I cleared out all the foam. (I had to use a straw to clear out all the shavings and crumbs. My entire face looked like I'd been in a blue blizzard. Tongue )

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Once all the foam was out of the holes, I needed to poke through the wood so I would know where the middle of each dowel would be. I used a flat spade auger bit to make the holes (the same one I had just used as a handle for the forstner bit). Since the central tip sticks out further than the rest of the bit, I just carefully drilled down until the center poked through.

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Now that the holes were done, it was time to cut the dowels to length. This was a job for my band saw. I could have used the scroll saw, but the band saw has a 90-degree sliding guide that makes cutting things nice and straight very easy.

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Twelve cuts later and my dowel pieces were done.
(Scout trooper supervised quality control.)

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I was able to twist the dowels into the holes in the foam until about the last 3/4 of an inch. After that, the handle for my fingers became too small for the amount of friction. So I hammered the dowels in the rest of the way with a hammer.

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Unfortunately, in a few cases, the bottom edge of the dowel caught onto the foam and tore through it as I hammered it down. I used a hacksaw blade to remove the trapped foam so the bottom of the dowel could touch the base. I'll fill in the foam gaps later with plants and other greebles.

Here you can see the crack I made by pressing too hard with the drill when trying to reach the bottom with my too-short forstner bit.  (At least you can see how well the glue holds the foam together since it cracked as a single piece.)

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And here are some pics of where the hammering caused issues.

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Recoverable damage to be sure. These are supposed to be ruins after all. Tongue

To secure the dowels to the board, I used screws and fender washers up through the bottoms using my pre-made guide holes. The fender washers help keep the screws from being pulled up through the wood, and they provide nicely wide anchors to resist when someone tries to tip the dowels over.
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For the tops, I counter sunk the screw heads so that nothing stuck up above the wood. These will be covered over with "tiles" later.

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Now that everything is screwed together, these bridge pieces are as strong as the frames of the boards. You can use even the smallest one as a secure handle to lift up the entire board easily.

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Next step, cutting out zillions of hexagonal tile pieces so I can start working on the flagstones...

Happy building everyone! Big Grin
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#37
Finally caught up after my gaming vacation (yay, Origins!). As usual, Ableman, your vision is amazing and the quality of your work is top notch! I like how you are able to work the little glitches into the theme! Where do you think this terrain will be used? I might have to learn battletech just for a chance to play on the terrain!!
May the Elements be with you! - OrientDM
#38
(06-23-2017, 09:02 AM)OrientDM Wrote: Where do you think this terrain will be used?  I might have to learn battletech just for a chance to play on the terrain!!

The person commissioning this terrain lives in Florida, so that might be a bit of a commute for you. Tongue

However, I'll be happy to teach you anytime you'd like. There's a group here in town that plays regularly.
#39
Actually, before I start making all my hexagonal tiles, I need to finish my bridge pieces. To give the bridges some more detail and visual weight, I wanted to add short little lips to the outside edges and some half-walls over the pillar sections to provide partial cover.

Originally, I had planned to make these pieces out of foam core. But in the interest of making these more robust, I decided to use luan plywood instead.

This would be only my second time using my bandsaw (the first was cutting the dowels). I don't know why I have avoided adding this tool to my collection for so long. It's fantastic! Big Grin

I'm able to cut strips as thin as I like. Some of my test strips were less than two millimeters thick.

My border strips are going to be 1/4 inch tall, so I ripped some luan into 1/4 strips to use as stock. For my half-walls, I needed to think a little bit. The outside of my hexes are 1 inch wide, so I cut a strip of stock one inch wide.

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When scout trooper inspected my work, he shook his head. Dragging me over to the standard imperial issue educational display, he turned on his most condescending lecturer voice-overlay and proceeded to show me how I had screwed up.

If the outsides of my hexes are one inch across, that forms the shorter side of a trapezoid. The longer side of the trapezoid would need to be 1.25 inches wide so that it could be trimmed down to one inch when the sides were beveled.

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So I ripped a wider 1.25 inch strip.

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With that error fixed just in time, I figured out a clever way to bevel the sides of my long strips at just the correct angle. I had an old three-sided ruler that I could use as a guide. Some clever use of Girl Scout cookie boxes to make a zero-clearance surface and even out the indentations in the ruler, and I was set to go.

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Only I had everything backwards, and that gave me wood cut at the wrong angle.
Then I remembered that the table on my bandsaw tilts...  Tongue

In moments, everything was set up and ready to go.

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I did run into one problem. When I was making a platform for my bandsaw, I very carefully made it so that the table area on the saw exactly matched up with the adjacent workbench so that I could use the workbench as a continuation of the saw surface when cutting.  

That's perfect for when the table is flat, but when making beveled cuts like this, the workbench gets in the way.

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Thankfully, my strips were very flexible and I was able to make do. I'll have to decide if I want to elevate my bandsaw to avoid this in the future.

It was about this time that I realized that I didn't need the wider 1.25 inch strips after all. Scout trooper and I both put on our dunce caps as we realized that we were supposed to bevel the wood so that the edges angled toward the center of the hexagon. That meant that we actually did need the 1 inch strips since they would be beveled inward, not outward.  Rolleyes

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Once that was all sorted out, I beveled my 1-inch strips, cut them to the right height, and glued them in place with cyanoacrylate
(super) glue over the support areas of my bridges. (Sorry, no pictures of that. Scout trooper and I were too embarrassed over our math mistakes and lost ourselves in our work so much trying to forget that we didn't remember to take pics of that part.

For the short 1/4 inch boundaries of the bridges, I didn't pre-bevel or pre-cut any of the pieces. Instead I laid my stock strips right where they needed to go on the bridge, then eyeballed the angle and marked them with a knife before moving down to a cutting mat to complete the cut. (A box cutter proved up to the task with enough pressure behind it.)

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Flipping the stock over matched the just-cut end with the piece now glued to the bridge. Using this method I was able to zigzag my way along the edge without much trouble.

Even eyeballing it, I was able to make some pretty nicely fitting joints.

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I really like the look of these now. I'm glad I decided to go with wood. I do plan to cover these with thin sheets of foam (cut from foam plates) so that I can easily texture them, but even as just plain wood I thing they look pretty good. Smile

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This is inspiring me. I want to try some more detailed wood projects. But need to finish this one first!

Next step, locking down all the errant foam layers. THEN  I'll finally start working on my hexagonal tiles.

Happy building everyone.  Big Grin
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#40
(06-23-2017, 07:02 PM)ableman33 Wrote: [Image: 34651652394_e023e579d5_b.jpg]

What's going on with that black glue???


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