Thursday 16 May 2013

Flat Pack Buildings System Test

I have a few cardboard buildings made several years ago. Most of them are the original Germy papercraft buildings. Due to age, storage conditions and construction skill they are really looking tatty now so I've been in mind to replace them. As Germy has updated versions now (same link as above) and the styling of the buildings is flexible (near future or basic level sci-fi) I am using the kits again. To make them more robust I thought I'd use foam core for the walls (especially as I have a bag of off cuts snagged from work to use), but this leads back to the old problem of storage so I though I'd experiment with a basic homemade assembly system.

The idea is to have the walls and roof separate and some easy way to join them together. In the end this is what I've come up with as a first attempt:

  • Foam core
  • paper printout of building kit
  • PVA glue
  • Self adhesive magnetic tape
  • Self adhesive steel paper
  • PVC Angle trim (10mm x 10mm)
First print out a building design and get it stuck down to your foam core (walls and roof) and cut the foam core round the design to give you the basic walls and roof.

Then cut out 5mm strip from the INSIDE wall to avoid the foam ends being visible when the building is put together. The surface of the outside facing wall needs to be left uncut.

Cut 4 lengths of the plastic trim to less than the wall height, and cover the outside surfaces in magnetic tape. Conveniently the tape I have is 20mm wide, so one small length can be cut down the middle.

Cut similar strips of steel paper and attach to the inside wall corners. Bear in mind that on the edges the "slot in" to your cut outs that the paper will need to be away from the edge.

Germy's roof designs handily have 5mm edging, so that can be glued over the roof edges to cover the internal foam. I have also painted the exposed wall tops.

Glue some strips of foam core to the underside of the roof, 5mm from the edge, to fit inside the walls and stop the roof slipping off.

Assemble the building.

As some notes:
  • The magnetic strength of the strip isn't very strong, but holds the building together well enough to be picked up - it doesn't stand up to a decent shake mind you.  
  • Using foam core does make the inside of the building smaller, and the corner connectors throw up some issues with interior aesthetics and window placement if you want to cut out the windows. 
  • The window\door cut-out problem would require some careful design, and probably leave the building looking a bit too "everything in the middle of the wall" looking?

The whole thing will obviously come apart for easy storage. I'll probably keep each building in a wee bag to avoid having to go through the Space Hulk style "where's that piece" box search.

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