Following from the first & second posts about the board design process I got really into detail with getting a quality print, laser etch, window film application as well as polishing the legibility and even the board tile shape…
As the laser cutter follows the outline of the vector the shape perfectly, when cut any unjoined shapes overlap which on close inspection looks untidy and can cause some over heating/browning of the acrylic when the same point is cut multiple times.
While perfecting the vector I changed the shape quite considerably as the dashed outline was quite busy on the eye over the illustration. I opted for a double stroke which has a clearer path & reflection off of the iridescent film.
I also discovered that cast acrylic etches and cuts much better than extruded acrylic so got down to Amari for the final (fingers crossed) two sheets.
Finally I wasn’t happy with the board cut into square tiles, the cut lines were distracting from the etched design so I printed some paper versions and tried a few different ways of dividing the board, finally
picking a 5 tile version where the cut lines follow the graphic layout and the whole thing still breaks up to fit into a reasonable sized box.
For the window film print I wanted to get the text as visible as possible so I attempted to have the graphics layer of the window film illustration under printed in white which caused some headache for the printers as the print driver expects under printing to cover large areas of the design so doesn’t lay the primary layer down very thickly causing the illustration to come out greenish and not a strong black. After much trial and error having weighed up the possibility of printing the illustration normally, waiting several days for it to dry and then attempting to register the print for under printing against the marginal benefit I decided against it and
went with the richer blacks of a regular print.
I have finally perfect the application of a single sheet of window film without creases or bubbles, however the new film contains PVC which means it isn’t possible to laser cut it…. so I had to painstakingly cut the tiles out and register the application of them onto the tiles. I swore a lot but got there in the end without too many mishaps.
Finally the iridescent window film which is so central to the entire aethsetic of the game has been my biggest disappointment. For early prototypes I was able to order sheets of the film big enough to cover the entire board however 3M (who manufacture everything, ever) have stopped manufacturing it and with my Uni hand in looming I have to order every last scrap of if I could find on the internet in A4 sheets and hope I had enough. 3M have replaced the product with a 5X more expensive thicker variety which is beautiful but also marks with finger oils much easier. It now would cost £45 to cover a single board. I am sure there are equivalent products out there for mass production (you can but iridescent everything) but for a small run I couldn’t find anything anywhere.
So with huge disappointment I applied the worlds last remaining A4 sheets. The border between sheets is visible on the final board but it will have to do as proof of concept.
I spent a great afternoon in the uni photography studio taking fancy shots of the whole thing followed by a tragic hard drive failure later that day so I’m waiting for another studio session before I reveal the final thing! For now enjoy this taster of one of the player pieces which I had emailed off before my drive died.