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Game Table

Some weeks ago, while I was getting the mail, I saw that someone in the apartment building across the street had thrown away a sort of coffee table/storage unit. It was in pretty good shape except for a badly scuffed surface, but what struck me immediately was the shape. It was a hexagon. And for certain persons, like me and anybody likely to be reading this post, that means gaming. It was time to salvage and upcycle, mostly using stuff I already had lying around.

Here's the table when initially salvaged. In addition to the essentially cosmetic damage to the top, it had also clearly been owned by a smoker, but some time to air out fixed that. 

The first step was putting a wooden rim around the edge of the tabletop. Tape around the edges, 3/8" square dowels cut at 60 degree angles to the right length, some wood glue, and clamps take care of that. The centers of the dowels are marked and some small pilot holes drilled for something I'll be coming back to later. Then the lines get erased so I can stain the wood.

Next, I had some marble hexagonal floor tile kicking around. Not enough in one color to do the whole thing, but enough to do most in white with a line of black in the middle as an accent. I 3d-printed some spacers for the inevitable empty half-hex spots to keep it all in line. Construction adhesive rather than real tile adhesive because I don't want the extra thickness, and some grout to fill in the gaps.

Now that the spacers are removed, most of the empty half-hexes get primed with a little cheap white paint. Then drilling some quarter-inch holes at a 45-degree angle (printed a jig for that), poking through into the interior. That's just enough to allow a USB-powered string of LEDs to be pulled through and glued down in place with hot glue, which also serves to plug those holes.

It's very important to plug those holes because of what comes next: epoxy. The lights are encased in a protective, colored coating, which provides some very interesting color effects when they come on and cycle through their own colors.

Now to the sides. I wanted to give the table a luxurious, upholstered look. Old sheets of thin plywood provide a bit of backing to pieces of soft foam cut to the size of the sides. The facing is some cheap faux-velvet cut to a few inches bigger than the faces they cover. A little cutting and stitching makes them box-shaped, and they get stapled around the edges.

The upholstered panels are secured by 3d printed, hex-shaped medallions. The hole in the center is tight enough to securely hold a #8 screw, and they're filled variously with 3d printed and hand painted decorations or colored resin. They poke through pre-drilled holes and are secured with nuts on the inside.


Two of the panels, though, are pockets (yes, it has pockets) into which one might stash rules booklets and the like. A bit of elastic and some supports to give the fabric some shape.

And what to do about those resin-free gaps I left in the top of the table? I printed out some chevron shapes which fit those gaps and used them as bases for a variety of shapes, providing configurable add-ins for the table. For regular use, just some nice resin bits to fill in the gaps.

But there's more. Need a coaster? I happen to have a hex-shaped resin mold of almost exactly the right size, and I carved an alternate design with the CNC machine.

 Also carved out some steps to use as a dice-rolling aid.

And a stand for a phone or tablet, with integral USB charging cable. Or rather, the cable is integral to the table; why not take advantage of that power strip, after all?

And that's the whole, finished thing:


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