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Making new furniture

Tips and tricks about sculpting.

Making new furniture

Postby iKarith » Friday March 26th, 2021 12:37am

Hey everyone,

I've occasionally seen some custom made furniture—some's 3D printed, but some of it is hand-made out of things like popsicle sticks and styrene cards and epoxy putty and … cool stuff like that. Even plain corrugated cardboard gets used—and I know wall insulation foam is used to make terrain for mini combat, but I don't have space to explore that idea.

I've tried making things out of popsicle sticks before. They tend to splinter when I tried to cut them, mostly, and I don't know much about working with styrene sheets aside from the fact that you can score and snap it like you would acrylic using the same metal ruler you used to score at the edge of a table to make the edge sharper (if that makes any sense?)

I'm wondering if anyone has references they'd recommend for total n00bs to begin developing skills for this stuff? I mean n00bs like people who've had trouble cutting out papercraft stuff when the lines weren't straight. I'd like to expand my skills, ideally in a budgetarily friendly way (because I hate the idea of spending MUCH money on it until I see that the money isn't going to be wasted…)

I've found a few things already, but they seem to presume I've done some of this stuff before and … I haven't. At least, nothing I'd call successful. The major reason I was planning to start with board tiles made out of cork was that I know I can cut squares, and if my cuts to make cracks and the like in the tiles are uneven and inconsistent, if they're not quite straight when glued to the the substrate, etc … that's perfect for a dungeon tile, isn't it? :D

… but other things, even something as simple as making a wooden table to replace the cardboard and plastic one that came in the box, seems like it might be a bigger accomplishment.
"So I guess when renaissance fairs open again, people are gonna go to them and be like, 'I say, I hath not seen thee since the plague!'"
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Re: Making new furniture

Postby Kurgan » Friday March 26th, 2021 10:51am

I haven't tried to make my own furniture yet (simply purchased packs of 3d printed stuff or dungeon decore to paint myself), but I do use those uxcell square/rectangular end caps to create custom bases and there is alot of spare plastic left over. maybe that could be used for furniture bits? Be careful cutting it of course, but the plastic is fairly soft and can be stuck together with hot glue fairly easily and then painted.

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Re: Making new furniture

Postby Kurgan » Friday March 26th, 2021 11:41am

The uxcell caps are used to plug the end of pipes and legs of furniture or bits on the end of railings and that sort of thing but I've used them a lot for miniatures.

I use an x-acto knife to get the edges started and then an old utility knife to separate the sweet "base" part from the rest, but there's a lot left over that could be cut up and glued into something probably.
Use a cutting board/cutting mat as well!

I have one of those mini hot glue guns too.

The plastic in the end caps pictured is so soft you can easily slice it with a pair of big scissors (not kitchen shears, more like craft/office utility or dress making scissors).

Now mind you these are just ideas, I haven't actually tried making any using these materials but I bet you could. I was making some custom bases the other day for Cyberpunk, where all I did was cut the base I would normally use in half and make a sandwich between the two pieces filled in with hot glue (hot glue isn't perfect, if you're just sticking two pieces of plastic or metal together eventually they'll fall apart if there's any pressure on them whatsoever, its more of a cosmetic quick fix or if it never gets moved, so I like to build up a lot of reinforcement).
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Re: Making new furniture

Postby cornixt » Friday March 26th, 2021 12:09pm

When cutting popsicle sticks, or any hobby wood really, it helps to use a hacksaw and clamp the wood to a table to keep it steady. Slow gentle cuts help keep you accurate and prevent splintering - don't rush and don't press hard. Knives don't work well at all unless the wood is very thin and the knife is very sharp.
You'll also need a file or sandpaper to tidy up the cut. Wood glue, PVA, work very well for sticking things together.


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Re: Making new furniture

Postby iKarith » Friday March 26th, 2021 4:50pm

Kurgan wrote:The uxcell caps are used to plug the end of pipes and legs of furniture or bits on the end of railings and that sort of thing but I've used them a lot for miniatures.

I use an x-acto knife to get the edges started and then an old utility knife to separate the sweet "base" part from the rest, but there's a lot left over that could be cut up and glued into something probably.


Those look like they'd be perfect for pylons or something in a sci-fi setting. Noted! I'm not sure what they'd do for me in a fantasy setting, but the plastic is vinyl and pretty easy to cut. The thing leaning up against my shoulder in my avatar is a white cane—I use one out in the sun because albinos can't see s**t in the daylight sun, and many of us only slightly more than that indoors. :lol:

Anyway, some rigid canes have a cap at the top that eventually becomes brittle, cracks, and comes off. A new cane is like $30+. A 4-pack of white or black vinyl tubing/thread caps is like $5 if you haven't got any in a drawer. Drill a hole in the top for a loop of nylon cord, a loop of ball chain, whatever you like for hanging and maybe attaching a charm to identify yours among a pile of others when we go to some "blind people" thing (end of the Covidium permitting), use the fender washer so your hanging loop doesn't just pull through, and glue it on in place of the old.

It's vinyl to vinyl, so I suppose it could be some solvent, but most often the solution is some PVA. You'll repair such a cane 2-3 times over its life. By then the baked on coating to the fiberglass or graphite cane has been completely chipped away particularly at the bottom and you have a -1 with disadvantage to your DEX save vs. the obstacle that caught your cane tip. Make it and your cane bows momentarily as you simultaneously stop your momentum and deftly pivot the cane upward with a flourish to relieve the strain. Fail and the cane cracks, usually at the tip. :x :lol::lol: :x It's not much heavier than a fishing rod, after all. (And this is why I carry a field repair kit with extra tips, a spare lanyard, half a dozen bamboo chopsticks, and gorilla tape. The result is clumsy and heavy, but it'll get me home to one of my many spares. Normal people don't carry more than maybe a spare tip, but I'm … not normal? :geek:)

I don't have a high temp mini glue gun—just a low temp model I need to correct that I think, thanks for the suggestion, it's cheap enough and a good idea.

I wonder if I can get larger things made with the same vinyl. They wouldn't be quite rigid if left as a single flat piece, but I could cut a top and four "sides" like the alchemist's bench has out of cardboard and just glue them together on inside edges. A table would be all straight cuts too.

Thanks for the suggestion! I added a note to your thread on the topic about extrusion caps which might be a little less cutting to make bases, but are the same plastic and come in multiples of 20mm. (I think 10mm exists.)

cornixt wrote:When cutting popsicle sticks, or any hobby wood really, it helps to use a hacksaw and clamp the wood to a table to keep it steady. Slow gentle cuts help keep you accurate and prevent splintering - don't rush and don't press hard. Knives don't work well at all unless the wood is very thin and the knife is very sharp.
You'll also need a file or sandpaper to tidy up the cut. Wood glue, PVA, work very well for sticking things together.


Hacksaw felt unwieldy to me, and the "mini hacksaws" never want to hold the blade correctly (which always sticks too far out anyway…) I'm using the wrong kind of hacksaw, apparently. I got the idea to search for "hobby mini hacksaw" and something called a Tiny Tim Hacksaw came up. Uses a 6" blade and is 9" overall. Kinda looks a little like an outline of a mouse cursor arrow. Plumbers apparently use them for tight spaces. Good idea, thanks!

Also saw this while looking:

Image

That… That's just an angle grinder. That's actually just a tiny angle grinder. Company calls it a ZipSnip if you want one. AND BEING USED TO OPEN A SWISS ARMY KNIFE! :lol: :lol: :lol: *ahem* I want one.

I think I've got a few places to get started. Last one would be a source of "mostly not crap" popsicle sticks. The last box I bought of the things was at least 30% "Are you kidding me?" Found a brand (again, Amazon) that people seem to say are higher quality. We'll have to see what I can come up with I guess!
"So I guess when renaissance fairs open again, people are gonna go to them and be like, 'I say, I hath not seen thee since the plague!'"
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