Monday, August 31, 2015

6x6 Field, Produced!

(or Static grass isn't THAT messy, is it??)

Okay, so TWO fields done.  (it really wasn't that much work, as I spent more time documenting them than I did cutting them!)

2 completed fields with a small MDF hill
Several of you asked for a detailed tutorial, so here is how I made the field of crops, MY way:

Okay, first be sure to assemble ALL of the tools you will need.
  1. Box blade knife
  2. Scissors
  3. Metallic Sharpie (or paint pen)
  4. T-square or Carpenter's square (or anything to ensure right angles and measurements)
Obviously you'll also need a surface to cut on.  I just chose to use some of the MDF blanks that I was prepping for hills. (nobody is going to see the cut marks on the bottom!)  Find an area that you can get rug cuttings all over and clean very easily.  I chose to do this on the edge of my garage floor, with the garage door open.  More on that later!

adjusting for uneven edges
Because I wanted these panels to be EXACTLY 6 inches square, I used the T-square to make sure I had right angles and to be the straight edge when cutting through the back of the matting.  You can see in the photo of the black rubber back of the mat, how the Metallic pen comes in handy, as it stands out well against the black, making your cutting much more precise.  This is another reason I used the T-square instead of just a ruler or a Carpenter's square.  Don't worry if you did a hack job cutting the matting apart earlier, as this is your chance to fix it, just make sure that you have a margin to trim on ALL 4 sides of the matting.  (I cut this one REALLY close on the second piece I trimmed up.)

Using the T-square to be PRECISE
Using the T-square, I can dial in the distance from where each of the square lines are marked, which allows me to use the end of the ruler as another guide for where to draw the lines.  If you have even enough edges you can probably draw all four borders at once, but I had to trim the top of the matting to get a good straight surface for the T-square to "square up to".

Now on to the fun stuff with sharp blades!

Make several passes to get a smooth cut
Once you have at least 2 of the lines laid out square, and you can see that you have enough material remaining, go ahead and cut at least one of the sides smooth.  Be patient, and make several passes with the box knife until you cut through the rubber mat.  BUT YOU AREN'T DONE YET!  Often, the coir matting is bound up and it is easier to keep cutting through this instead of trying to pull it apart and risk unraveling your edges.  This sets you up well for the next step of trimming the edges.  Make sure you cut and separate each of the four sides before moving on to the next one.  If you have a very small margin of rubber, sometimes it is just easier to trim that section off with scissors instead of the knife.

No need to make these perfect edges, but go ahead and cut away some of the matting that is leaning away from the rest of the "field" and just attempt to give it as "well groomed" a look as you can.  You'll do this several times, and between edge trimmings, beat the matting a few times to knock loose any threads that are just hanging on.  You'll have to make one more pass over the entire top of the rug to trim any excessively long strands that are just production imperfections.  Not a big deal to leave them, but it just detracts from the uniformity.

Freshly cut field, 6 inches square
Now if you wondered why I did this with the garage door open, it made cleanup a breeze!  Remember how I told you to beat the matting several times to get out the loose strands?  Does your work area look like the photo below?

 If so, then just break out the leaf blower and cleanup is NO problem!  Now if you did this on your living room floor, I am not responsible for what other people in the house do to you for making a terrible mess like this, inside!

A quick hit of PVA glue on the edges of the rubber mat, along with some static grass, and you are done!  (oh yeah, you didn't move inside before you added the static grass did you??  Yeah, that one is kinda messy too...)

Now you're done!  You have a 6-inch square field to throw down on your game board to slow the enemy's progress or hide that blob unit of yours!