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Tabletop Game Counters

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:07 pm
by Xaracen
At Christmas I was given a 45 year old tabletop naval wargame I used to play in my twenties. It was called Seastrike, and it used cardboard counters representing a variety of battleships of the time, in two fleets, one in red livery and one in blue, along with a dozen cardboard islands of various shapes and sizes to scatter over the playing area, and several other bits and pieces, including aircraft and some land-based pieces.

The counters were all present bar one item, a red Interceptor plane, and in pretty good condition. In deciding how to replace the missing counter I realised I had the means to replace all the ship counters in a more durable form, and so CNC-strike was born! :D
I had some signmaking/engravers' laminate in my man-cave, so I started drawing! The individual weapon system icons are all based on simple shapes, and I designed them on the basis of using a 0.5mm flatend cutter. But toolpathing the Helipad shapes turned out to be problematic for makercam, more on that later in the post.The photo shows the first batch of counters being milled. The laminate is held down flat with double-sided tape, and the edges of the panel sealed with petroleum jelly extruded from a small syringe, to keep the water from undermining the grip of the tape. I used water with a little liquid soap for cooling and lubrication. Does seem to make a difference, giving me cleaner cuts. And it certainly keeps the dust down!
Tech bits: 0.5mm flat-end two-flute cutter, pocketing all symbols and the area between the hull and the counter rim to 0.5mm depth, and profiling the rim to the 1.6mm thickness of the laminate.
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These are a few of the original counters facing their new laminate equivalents. The helicopter symbols on the originals looked too clumsy to me and weren't going to turn out well with the half-mm bit so I replaced them with the Helipad symbol. I discovered later online that more recent versions of the game incorporated the same change. 'Recent' is relative by the way, the game hasn't been available for decades!
The counters turned out pretty well, and needed only minimal cleanup, essentially a good brushing with a stiff toothbrush, and removing any traces of the sticky tape.
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As mentioned earlier the Helipad symbols gave makercam and me a real headache as it had trouble correctly calculating the cutpaths for them, completely disregarding the pocket boundaries that were correctly hatched in the pre-calc phase. I have managed to work around the problem for the time being by tweaking the shapes in my drawing prog, but because of the many shapes involved and the fact that makercam's toolpath defaults don't suit me at all, there was a lot of text field editing going on, so I decided it was time to tackle some of makercam's issues directly. But that's for a separate post elsewhere in the forum. Suffice to say significant progress has been made, and work has started on the red fleet!
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The fleet is assembling! Scottish shipbuilding has a bright new dawn!

Re: Tabletop Game Counters

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:41 pm
by GurneyHalleck
They look awesome!

Isn't it great when a plan comes together?

Re: Tabletop Game Counters

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:48 pm
by Xaracen
Thanks! Most of the blue fleet is done, but having to amend several tooling values in the CAM dialogs for each symbol on the ships, for a block of five or six ships per piece of laminate, I was really really really wanting to be able to change the defaults to something where I could for the most part just hit OK with little or no editing. That and the trouble I had to get the helipads to pocket correctly was why I decided to have a go at amending makercam, before I tackled the red fleet.

Then my daughter's partner gave me a set of wall panel coaster-sized sample tiles (he's an architect), so I made a CNC-strike themed coaster out of a couple of them. I broke two 0.5mm bits on them! I think that the material was harder than I expected and I had the feed-rate too high.
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This one turned out not too bad, but a couple of the symbols had a small mistake I hadn't noticed, but easily fixed in the drawing files.