Saturday, November 3, 2018

DIY Gaming Table - WIP

Around November of 2017 I started building a custom gaming table for playing RPGs like Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons. I was inspired by the Geek Chic tables that used to be available, but those were way too expensive for my budget. By early January the table was "complete enough" that we could start playing on it. That, combined with the fact that my new Glowforge laser cutter had arrived, was enough distraction that I pretty much stopped working on it. I am trying to motivate myself to finish it now and am hoping that posting about it here will help push me to work on it (plus my Glowforge caught on fire and destroyed itself, so that is no longer a distraction).

The table has a 55" TV embedded in the center for displaying maps in the game. I use most of the time to display the maps with "Game Master" display running in a browser on my second monitor and the "Player" display running in a different browser on the TV screen (both displays are plugged into my laptop). The table also has hinged Geek Chic inspired cubby/tables for laptop/tablet/character sheets, etc., and additional slide out tables that we use to eat from when we play. I also built embedded dice towers for the corners that you will see in some later pictures.

I used TinkerCAD to create a 3D design of the table, and stayed pretty close to the original design with the build (you will see a few differences between the design and the actual build). The design are available here on the TinkerCAD website: Gaming Table Design. The units are displayed in millimeters in TinkerCAD, but they represent inches for the build itself. The entire table is about 5 feet by 7 feet, so it is fairly large.

I built the frame using 2x6 boards (I think the CAD design shows 2x4s for this, but I decided to go larger for a little added strength). I cut 1.5 inch grooves in each piece, leaving 4 inches of board beyond each groove. this allowed me to slide the boards into one another to provide a frame. I then added 1x6 boards across the top to create the table surface which rings around the TV screen.

I then made an inner frame using 1x3s to sit inside the outer frame and snugly hold the TV in place. The crescent shaped grooves in the inner frame were added to so that the TV could sit on a swivel mount and be lifted into an upright position in case we wanted to watch something on the TV rather than playing on top of it.

The legs were each made from three 2x4s glued and screwed together with the center board 5.5 inches shorter than the two outer boards. The legs were then slid onto the outside of the longer frame boards and bolted in place as shown in the picture above.

Unfortunately I didn't take very good pictures of the mount set up when I was building it, but I used angle iron to bolt a plank to the sides of the frame and attached the swivel mount to that plank. The temporary boards in the top right picture holding the TV in place were replaced with a rail that allows the TV to slide back and forth as it is shifted into an upright position.

I wrapped the outside of the frame using 1x10 boards and then attached 1x6 boards to the bottom to act as the lower shelf of the cubbies for each player. I then added an end cap to each corner for additional support.

I bolted some more angle iron together to make a track for the slide out shelves which were each made out of a 1x12 plank (maybe 1x10, I do not recall for certain). There is a hole cut in the end of each slide out shelve to make it easier to pull them in and out. I am planning to add cup holders to the ends of these, but have not done it yet.

I used narrow flip top hinges with angled cuts of 1x6 boards to make the hinges and added strips of craft foam to soften the impact if my kids slam them shut. The hinges were purchased from the Lee Valley website here. The image below shows the hinge pieces in a closer view.

I installed power outlets in each corner which provide a total of eight power plugs and eight USB ports to the table.

Below are some pictures of the TV lifted into the upright position. I used my Glowforge laser cutter to make the custom the dice tower and dice shelf that you can see on the corner.

The dice tower folds up so that it can side into the box mounted on the corner. There are magnets embedded in the base of the tower that it can be placed on top of the container as shown in the video below.

I still have some work to do to finish up the table and then I will stain it. It has definitely made playing a lot more convenient over the last year, and has been a fun project to work on. I mentioned above that I use often use to set up and display maps for our games, but lately I have been creating some 3D maps using SketchUp and Table Top Simulator. The pictures below are screenshots from some maps I created for the Pathfinder Giantslayer and Ruins of Azlant campaigns (using the 2D maps from the publisher as a starting point).

The 3D maps are a lot more work to set up, but can make visualization easier for the players as well as adding a lot of depth to the game in my opinion.

1 comment:

  1. You are a real craftsmen. You could probably get a chunk of change if you sold the plans for this to a gaming company.