Category Archives: Hobby Process Improvement

Hobby Process Improvement #2: Wall-Mounted Gaming Table!

Submitted by Iggy Koopa, December 23, 2015 at 6:25 AM.

iggykoopaI’ve always wanted to have a table in my man cave so that I could pick up and play a game of Warhammer whenever I wanted or to use as a table for when I’m painting. When I got my new house this was the plan… So I bought the material to make a 4×6 foot table and the green felt material to cover it with. I’ve had this table for a little over 2 years now and while it does it’s job very well… It also does one thing that I just don’t like – it takes up too much space. In my man cave, I have all of my gaming consoles and a 47″ TV. A couple of recliners and I’m good to go when football comes on… But like I said, I had to make a choice about having a man cave or having a table for games… So I finally decided, why not both? I set to work on making the table more easily accessible and space saving at the same time. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. And the following is how I created my table.

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My original thought was that I would make the table in a way that it folds up into the wall using hinges and other material. After I started working on it, though, I decided to keep one half of the table permanently separated and put it in storage when not in use. This helps to not make it so bulky when it’s hanging on the wall. It also eliminates the extra weight that the 2 lag screws have to hold when folded up. So anyway, I already had the table and lumber, I just needed the hinges and lag screws. Here’s the list of everything, though, just in case you’re wondering:

– 4×6 piece of 1/2″ plywood

– 4 hinges and screws

– 3 tight seal sash hinges

– About 16 feet of 2×2 wood (to brace the tables)

– Two 6″ metal slats

– 6 hook and eye locks

I set to work on it and started on the hinges that go into the wall that will ultimately support the whole thing. The important thing to remember here is that these need to be screwed directly into the 2x4s inside the wall so that they can bear the weight of the table. If you screw it into the drywall only then you’re gonna have a bad time… Once those 2x4s were located I drilled the holes and then attached the first half of the table (I cut it in half so that there’s two 2×3 foot sections). I also added hook and eye attachments to either side of the wall so that it can hold the table in place when it’s folded up. After I attached it to the wall I then made the holes to put the legs. I cut these at 41 inches tall. I also put a small piece of plywood between the legs and the tabletop so that I could allow a deeper screw to hold the legs up. The height of the legs lined up almost perfectly so that they both fold into the inside brackets of the table, like so:

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So now that one side was done it’s time to get to the other side! I basically repeated what I did with the first half except I did add some 6″ metal slats to the wall mounted section. This is used to hold the table in place while I attach the 2 together so that I’m not straining to hold it up and get them attached. It also means that this table can be set up with only one person!

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A simple metal slat that holds the table so that the pieces can be attached with the tight seal hinges.

In order to prevent the legs from folding under on us when playing a game (and damaging all the miniatures on top!) I put the metal hook and eye locks all around on each of the 4 legs. They are also the kind that have a spring lock in place just in case one of the legs is accidentally kicked. Little bit of extra protection never hurts!

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Lastly, once the two tables were joined together I got underneath and attached the 3 tight seal sash locks. This is the most important part because this will be used to keep the table held in place. It’s important to put these locks slightly further than normal so that they can really pull and hold the 2 tables together. You want there to be a snug fit when the lock is pulled together. Mine turned out just right on all 3!

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All that’s left to do is add the felt whenever we’re ready to play a game! Then simply unlock everything and fold up the table when done! And in order to keep it from being such an eye sore when it’s folded up I cover mine with the soon-to-be NFC East Champions flag – The Washington Redskins! So now I can have my man cave and a gaming table! I’m really glad this turned out well. I enjoy having a table to play games since I don’t get out much to any of the local stores so having one available is critical for me. I hope you enjoyed the article! Let me know if anybody is going to give this a try in their home!

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Hobby Process Improvement #1: Photo Lightbox.

Submitted by Iggykoopa, May 9, 2014, 12:29 PM.

iggykoopaWell we’ve decided that we’re going to add a section to our new blog titled “Hobby Process Improvements”. The goal is to bring you some new things that might help in the overall process of this wonderful hobby… whether it be painting on gems to make them look more realistic, how-to paint guides, tips for making movement trays, etc, etc. And hopefully it will help make your lives a little bit easier when it comes to these miniatures, because we all know how delicate they can be.

I’m dipping back into an old post that I submitted a couple years ago but I think it’s worth reposting as this item is something I still use to this day. Here’s the very first of our Hobby Process Improvement articles: The Photo Lightbox.

I do lots of painting and frequently upload the completed models to various sites and blogs in order to get some feedback. Now we all know that it’s nearly impossible to capture how well a model really looks in person on a camera… And so it’s up to us to make sure we get as close to “real” as we can get. That’s where this lightbox comes in handy. I struggled with this for years before I came across a couple of sites that showed how they took better pictures… One thing that I came across that seemed to be a common theme was the lighting of the model when you take the picture. I had just been using 2 pieces of white paper and a fluorescent light above it, and that was it. Here’s how I had been taking photos of the miniatures:

This was all I had!
This was all I had!

The good thing about this project is that you can get everything you need for about $10 from either Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby (weekly 40% off coupon, woot!). It took me a total of 45 minutes from start to finish and the return on investment of both time and money was well worth it. Here’s the materials I used.

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You can make the lightbox any size you want but I decided to go about a square foot in length. I started by cutting out four 12 inch x 12 inch pieces of foamboard and set two of those to the side as these will need further modification. These two will need to have another square cut out into them and I went 2 inches in from the edge. I also cut out two 3 inch strips that are 12 inches in length. So far, this is what you should have:

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Next what you should do is have the glue gun plugged in so that it’s hot and ready to go. Take the two square foot pieces and glue them together so that they are perpendicular with each other. Once glued take the two pieces that have squares cut into them and place them on either side, so that it’s starting to look like a 3D box. Take one of your pieces of 3 inch foamboard and glue it across the top so that it holds the two top pieces together. I know that was a lot to take in, so how about a picture of what you should have so far?

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Next take the wax paper that you bought and cut it into pieces that are big enough to cover the cutouts on the side pieces. This serves as a filter to drown out some of the light that will be coming in from either side and help to give it a brighter, richer look once you begin taking photographs. You can simply take some scotch tape and apply it to the wax paper and then tape it against the foamboard. Here’s what you should have:

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Lastly is the blue piece of foam that will serve as the background. You can use blue paper or spongy foam that can be found at Hobby Lobby and Walmart. Either way it will work. The blue color helps to stand out against the light and really makes the models pop so I would recommend using a light blue as opposed to any other color. I glued one end of the blue foam and then let the rest of it sort of slope downwards into the front of the lightbox. Here you go:

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And here’s what it should now be looking like once you have it all glued together and the blue foam applied:

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The only thing that’s not pictured is my use of another clip on light. I usually use 2 lights on either side of the lightbox and one fluorescent light on top. This way it eliminates any shadow that might be trying to creep in and thus make the model really stand out once you take pictures!

To really drive home my point of how well this works, here’s a before picture of a Deathwing terminator:

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And here’s one with lightbox:

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A huge change! Simple and very easy to make and one of the most effective things I’ve ever made and still use to this day. I post a lot to my blog so I try to take some good pictures and having this lightbox really helps to deliver some good photos. Hope this will help you out for your picture taking in the future! Let me know what you think!