The guys and I have really enjoyed getting out to conventions an meeting many of you. We love talking about games and appreciate your suggestions for new products. Where you have been the biggest help to us in regards to our MDF base line.I am a huge miniature collector with thousands of minis in my collection. The first thing I did when I got a laser cutter/engraver was to make bases for my minis. I could make any shape and size I wanted without having to pay the high costs I was originally paying online. So, when we started this company, we knew we had to include bases as some of our products.
Like I said, I play a lot of games and thought we had covered all the base sizes needed for current games.
Boy, was I wrong!
Each convention we add more base sizes to our stock and we STILL have people ask for sizes we haven’t made. We feel bad but we make sure that we get the new size done for the next convention. We also make sure to get these custom orders out to the customer ASAP so that they can get their minis on the gaming table. We know it is important to have the right game pieces to play our games and we are glad to help make that happen.
By the way, I hope you don’t think I’m nosy when I ask what the bases are for (I often respond to e-mails with “sure we can make it but what is it used for?”). Besides miniatures, I also collect rule sets and love to learn about games and their mechanics.
The MDF (which stand for medium density fiberboard) is perfect for creating miniature bases. We tested a few types and found that the current brand that we are using has the properties we are looking for. It is 3mm in thickness and you can spray paint it without getting any warping or splitting of the material. That lets people prime their models attached to the base if they want without any concerns. You are also able to alter the edges with a simple box cutter or hobby knife in order to get a specialized finish.
Besides bases, we use our laser etcher/engrave in many other projects.
We have created game pieces such as custom character cards, rulers and other measuring tools. The above image shows both the ruler and the squad sheet for a space game we designed for this year’s ReaperCon. We went for a smoky acrylic sheet with a pained MDF handle to give the feel of our sci-fi themed game.
We have also made custom key fobs and objective markers for other games that we have ran. Basically, if you can describe it, we have a good chance of being able to make it for you at a reasonable cost. From various types of acrylic, MDF and wood, our machine lets us choose the right look for any given project.
Our next challenge for the laser is to start to develop hybrid MDF/resin terrain pieces. There seems to be a lot of MDF buildings and accessories coming on to the market. I appreciated the work put into them but, for me, they still look like a sturdier version of the paper cut outs we used to get in our gaming magazines. They are too “2D” for them to match the rest of my table. However, MDF is great for large, flat areas of buildings and will reduce the overall weight of a structure.
What we decided to do is marry the aspects we like about MDF with our ability to sculpt resin accessories to make them more “3D” on our table.
The picture above is a good example of what we are experimenting with. The MDF can be sprayed black and cut to make a decent iron fence and gate. This will be less delicate than resin fencing and less expensive than casting it in metal (something we want to get into in the future). However, the stone pillars that are often part of these fencing structures would not work in MDF. We sculpted this in resin and can now produce a mixed kit that will be sturdy enough to game with as well give a more finished look to the table.
We plan on doing this same sort of mixed kits with buildings in the future. The MDF will be used for large, flat surfaces while the resin bits will be used to add curves and depth to the finished product.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what we are trying to do with our laser and inspire you to challenge us with custom projects and designs for your gaming table. Please either e-mail us using the contact info on our website or leave a comment. We love working with other people and coming up with new ways to make all our gaming tables better at affordable prices.
Peace out, eh?