Best type to use for making game tiles?

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by Kat Tanak » Fri, 09 Jan 1998 04:00:00



I'm sure that someone out there on this (fantastic) newsgroup knows
the answer to my question.  I have to say that I'm really impressed
by the quality and quantity of information that's here.

What I need to know is which product people would recommend for
creating playing tiles (like Scrabble tiles, or Rummikub tiles).
I'm a game designer in addition to being a neophile polyclay
enthusiast, and I need to create some tiles for a prototype.

I have 10 blocks (I think that's the right term) of Fimo here.

The finished tiles should be 1" to 1 1/4" square, and about 1/8"
to 3/16" thick.  They need to be as uniform as possible.

Any tips and tricks I should know?

kat


 
 
 

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by Jodie Tic » Fri, 09 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Hey Kat!

I recommend you track down a *used* pasta machine...

Once you condition your clay, you can use the pasta machine to make a
flat slab of clay at a "standard" thickness.  To make sure your clay is
conditioned, I usually add a pinch (or more) of white or light beige or
light grey to the color I'm conditioning.  When the clay is mixed fully
so you can't distinguish the light color from the darker one, your clay
is conditioned.  

You can use the pasta machine to speed up the mixing....but you should
work the clay somewhat by hand first....or you'll break the pasta
machine gears.

Most pasta machines roll clay to a thickness of 1/9" on the widest
setting (the number on the setting varies by machine so it could be 1, 6
or 7, depending on the machine).... so if you want the clay slab
thicker, you could layer 2 thicknesses(same or different sizes) from the
pasta machine.

Know that if you DO use a pasta machine, that you **should not** use it
for food again.

Bake at 265F for 15-30 min or more...ya-da-ya-da-ya...per the
instructions on the package....less if the clay is 01 Transparent....

More questions?
--
Enjoy! :+>
Jodie

To send e-mail, remove X's from address!  SPAM stinks!

Quote:

> I'm sure that someone out there on this (fantastic) newsgroup knows
> the answer to my question.  I have to say that I'm really impressed
> by the quality and quantity of information that's here.

> What I need to know is which product people would recommend for
> creating playing tiles (like Scrabble tiles, or Rummikub tiles).
> I'm a game designer in addition to being a neophile polyclay
> enthusiast, and I need to create some tiles for a prototype.

> I have 10 blocks (I think that's the right term) of Fimo here.

> The finished tiles should be 1" to 1 1/4" square, and about 1/8"
> to 3/16" thick.  They need to be as uniform as possible.

> Any tips and tricks I should know?

> kat




 
 
 

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by DABla » Sat, 10 Jan 1998 04:00:00



Quote:
>What I need to know is which product people would recommend for creating
>playing tiles (like Scrabble tiles, or Rummikub tiles). I'm a game designer
>in addition to being a neophile polyclay enthusiast, and I need to create
>some tiles for a prototype.  I have 10 blocks (I think that's the right term)
>of Fimo here.  The finished tiles should be 1" to 1 1/4" square, and about
>1/8" to 3/16" thick.  They need to be as uniform as possible. Any tips and
>tricks I should know?

Hi Kat,

Funny you should mention this.  A couple of months ago I made several sets of
about forty-five 3/4"-square tiles for math exercises at our school.  Each one
had a product or factor on it (if I've got my terms right), and there were
tiles for +, -, and =.  

I had some problems though.  Some of them wouldn't affect you if you're simply
looking for a way to make prototypes (like having a way to easily
print/impress/transfer the numbers onto the *exact* center--both directions--of
all the tiles without too much work, cutting either before or after).
Exactness seems to be the biggest problem with doing this, in several ways.  

I typed my numbers in a grid, then enlarged and transferred to the raw clay.
Unfortunately the transfers never transferred completely, so I had to go back
with a permanent marker and fill in.  Someone recently mentioned using rub-on
letters on baked clay--that might work much better.

Otherwise, the biggest problem I had was that the tiles showed every tiny
bubble, especially since I used *solid* colors, and I couldn't seem to get them
out of the clay completely no matter what I did (could have been the brand or
batch though--I had mixed in a little SuperSculpey). I would guess Fimo would
be fine, since you already have it --it's strong and its flexibility probably
wouldn't be a problem if it were thick enough.

My tiles also wouldn't stay flat after baking and I had to weight them with
several heavy books while cooling.  This problem may not happen if you use
thicker clay to begin with (I was trying not to use up too much clay)--would
have to be thicker than #1 on the pasta machine; you could layer several slabs
but be sure to keep air pockets from being trapped between them.  Might be best
to just roll a thicker slab with a rolling pin of some sort.

As for making them uniform, I tried several methods:  measuring with a ruler,
then lightly impressing each side and cutting with a NuBlade; also transferring
a photocopied grid, then using that as guidelines--those were the most
successful.  The first one came out close (but no banana) and was really
tedious; the second worked better but the lines were somewhat visible on my
light colored clay. I "erased" them with *** or Diluent, but again it was
tedious.

What I would have done, I think, if I'd had more time would be to create a grid
with wire (wrapped around screw-eyes to tighten? on a wood frame), or to use
the "ribbon technique" (?) someone devised which embeds xacto blades into clay
at the desired intervals (then bake), then slice the slab both directions to
create squares.  (These still leave the problem of imprinting in the exact
centers, though with enough time you could probably create some kind of
template or holder for your letters or numbers or whatever you're using.)

These are some of the things that I happen to remember. . . hope they help
some.  As I said, they may not be a problem for prototyping; you could just buy
a Kemper square cutter (the biggest one a little too small?) or a plastic,
square, cookie-type cutter (cake decorating aisle at Michaels, I think) (a
little big though?) and try those.

Best of luck and let us (or me!) know what worked the best.  This was a knotty
problem, but useful with games as well as other things that I'd like to do.
Diane B.
(P.S.  You'd probably better use a finish if you transfer the letters--rather
than impressing them--and if they'll receive much handling.)

 
 
 

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by Sherry Bail » Sat, 10 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Yep, Jody is right.

You can use Fimo for a prototype (but I would assume that commercially you
would want something more sturdy like whatever hard plastic is normally used
for Scrabble and all that.) (For a really glitzy prototype, you could even use
the fancy techniques people here indulge in -- but I won't go into that!)

Depending on what you need the pieces to look like (decorated? with symbols?
just different colors?) there are different ways to handle things.

Assuming the most simple approach, you can roll out slabs of well conditioned
clay. (If you don't want to get a pasta machine, you can take two strips of
wood or something like that the thickness you need your pieces to be -- say
two chunks of a wooden yardstick or whatever -- and put the clay down on a
flat clean surface between them. Then use whatever roller you have (thick
dowel, lucite roller, clean smooth pipe...) on the clay until the roller rests
on the wood and the clay is the same thickness.)

Once the clay is the right thickness, you can cut your squares using a ruler
and blade (I would say to get a tissue blade from a mail order source or else
a wallpaper blade (about 5 inches long and sharp on one side) and press the
length of the blade into the clay, NOT to slice the tip of a blade through the
clay along the ruler, which might give a more wobbly line.)

Or you can sometimes find sets of cutters (like cookie/canape cutters) and if
you can find one the right size, you will be all set for uniform
pieces. (Kemper now has sets of square cutters, don't know if the bigger ones
are in line with your needs or not, but the mail order suppliers like Clay
Factory or Prairiecraft or Wee Folks should be able to tell you.)

Another factor is that you can get SLIGHTLY rounded corners with some of the
cutters. If you cut by hand, you may want to smooth the corners a tiny bit so
they aren't "sharp" looking. Or if you choose to sand and buff the pieces
afterward, that might do it.

Bake the pieces flat on a sheet of paper or index stock, make sure they don't
bend up a little in handling. People have even been experimenting with putting
heavy ceramic tile or sheets of thick glass under and on top of flat pieces
like this while baking (add extra time for the tiles to heat up) to keep them
really flat, and in some cases, to add a shiny surface from the smoothness of
the glass pressing on the clay.

The worst part of this project, as I envision it, is conditioning the clay!

Let us know if your proposal is successful!

Sherry

 
 
 

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by Sue Hease » Sun, 11 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>>What I need to know is which product people would recommend for creating
>>playing tiles (like Scrabble tiles, or Rummikub tiles). I'm a game designer
>>in addition to being a neophile polyclay enthusiast, and I need to create
>>some tiles for a prototype.

You might find my method for making dolls house "ceramic" tiles works
for this:

Roll out the clay on a real ceramic tile to the correct thickness - roll
the clay out between two strips of wood of the thickness you want the
tiles, using a smooth rolling pin.

Lay on a sheet of graph paper and *** with a pin into the corners of
each square the size you want. Remove graph paper and, using a knife
with a long, straight blade, cut straight down along the lines of
***s. Do not move the tiles - just remove the s***clay around the
edges. Rolling the clay onto the tile like this keeps it sticking there
until after baking.

For a gloss surface, press a second tile over the first so it contacts
the clay completely, for a matt surface lay down a piece of baking
parchment first. Weight with a few more tiles or a casserole dish. Bake
for 30 - 40 minutes (longer than usual to get the heat to penetrate the
tiles).

The top tile keeps the clay from bubbling or distorting. When cool, you
may need to cut down the lines to separate the tiles, and slice under
them to ping them off the ceramic tile.

I have made a lot of tiles very quickly using this method.

Sue
--
Sue Heaser

 
 
 

Best type to use for making game tiles?

Post by Bob » Sun, 11 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> You might find my method for making dolls house "ceramic" tiles works
> for this:
> Roll out the clay on a real ceramic tile to the correct thickness - > roll the clay out between two strips of wood of the thickness you want > the tiles, using a smooth rolling pin.
> Sue Heaser

Not into poly clay yet, but in the mid 70s my wife and I made an art
"clay" with bread, hand lotion and white glue ????yes it hardend and
works--could even make dainty roses with it.  

Anyway, to keep each flat piece (tiles in your case) exactly the same
thickness we used 1/8 inch thick welding rods.  They are just steel rods
with no coating used in gas welding.  Two were laid side by side with
the "clay" in between them  (just like wood stips above). The clay was
rolled out with a rolling pin. .  The rolling pin would rest and roll on
the rods once it rolled the clay down thin enough.  You could use any
rigid rods or even wooden dowels.  It might be easier to find a large
variety of thicknesses of rods down to 1/16 inch than to find wood stips
in these various thicknesses.  

Bob

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