Perspectives requested (modular gaming table crafting materials)
#1
Hello all,
I am new to making terrain and am looking for information on what types of foam/base materials are preferable for making landform tiles suitable for 1:48 scale. I have looked around in the forums here and not found any specific brands or types named, apologies if I have overlooked something obvious.

My intention is to make 8 2x2' tiles, using a 1/4" (or 3/8" ?) MDF base with 1" foam glued to the top of each with PVA.

However, I've read horror stories about MDF warping due to pva, other water-based adhesives, or humidity. Is MDF the best choice for this application or do you think there might be a better alternative?

As for the foam, I am looking at getting a few sheets of Corafoam for carving, but again I am a noob and would like to know if you have a better recommendation.

Thank you for your input.
Terra Novicius.
Reply
#2
(09-19-2016, 02:48 PM)Draugrnaut Wrote: However, I've read horror stories about MDF warping due to pva, other water-based adhesives, or humidity.

If you live in ABQ ambient humidity probably won't be a problem for you. The other main causes of warping are usually a result of poor glue technique and/or choice.

Warping is caused by glue shrinkage, so the two main ways to avoid warping is to use an adhesive that doesn't shrink as it cures and/or using the proper amount of glue. Completely slathering a board with a coat of PVA is a recipe for disaster. You can use PVA, but the trick is to use lots of little dots, not a couple big fat ribbons/beads. Use as little adhesive as possible.

Rubber cements are good for this as they don't shrink as much as PVA. HOWEVER, you have to find a cement that doesn't use a foam-eating solvent. This will require a knowledge of your foam.

(09-19-2016, 02:48 PM)Draugrnaut Wrote: As for the foam, I am looking at getting a few sheets of Corafoam for carving...

Well, it seems pretty expensive, but if you have the budget, go for it. It might be extra worthwhile if this type of foam can handle harsh adhesives like E6000, but I am not familiar with this foam at all and can't make any recommendations. Do your research. It may be worth it, it may be not. In the event that this stuff doesn't work out for you, look into extruded polystyrene (XPS). XPS is very popular around here for its texture (lack of beads) and ease of carving. XPS will get eaten by some types of adhesives and modeling products (like Envirotex) but there are work-arounds and we can all offer you tips and techniques.

Welcome to the club!
Reply
[+] 1 user Likes Tob's post
#3
Many thanks Tob!

I've done some more looking and found some pink foam that's far more reasonable.
Also, thanks for the tip on applying the glue, I've watched a number of video tutorials now where PVA is smeared across the top side of an mdf tile - I'll go for the drops instead.

Do you have any recommendations for rubber cement that will not eat foam?
Terra Novicius.
Reply
#4
(09-20-2016, 10:43 AM)Draugrnaut Wrote: Do you have any recommendations for rubber cement that will not eat foam?

Glad to see you found the XPS. That will keep a few dollars in your pocket.

As for cements, there's a few ways to go depending on your application. For small bits I like any latex archival bookbinding rubber cement. Which reminds me, there is a glue called YES! that works great, but it actually might be PVA based. Not a bad thing per se, but hey.

If you need large coverage, a spray adhesive like 3M 77 is good. Can be tricky and messy to work with, so mask off EVERYTHING you don't want coated in adhesive. LePage makes some stuff too, but you'll want to use their Green line and NOT the other stuff. They also make a construction adhesive (No More Nails) that is safe for foam. I failed to mention construction adhesives earlier but they are also an option.

One way to avoid all these problems is to not do modular tiles. Tiles aren't quite as convenient as everyone seems to think and they don't give the variation people expect. Personally I never do tiles, but I don't play any games that really require that type of set up. Then there are the seams.

I am also curious as to what you are playing in such a large scale.
Reply
#5
Oh, and also: peel off the film!

Often if not always, sheets of XPS have a thin layer of plastic on one or both sides. Peel this off. It's not difficult and it's not a disaster if you forget, but removing it as soon as possible prevents annoyance in the future. It makes painting, surface carving, and hot wire cutting much easier.

Why do I bring this up? Recently forgot. Created little plastic hairs when cut on a bandsaw. Had to spend 20 minutes picking them off. [facepalm smiley]
Reply


Forum Jump: