The game board is a special design in that it can be configured in many shapes. It is composed of 3 different types of puzzle pieces, and the different configurations are made from multiple combination of the 3 different types.
Some Design Constraints
There were a couple constraints for the initial design of the pieces. The constraints are as follow.
The assembled game board needs to accommodate a modular and portable design
Each board needs to be lightweight and durable
The grid layout must accommodate 3DoT PaperBot to navigate through each cell.
The game board needs to allow for a hidden grid system under a custom print to allow for custom games
These constraints were all satisfied with the design of the puzzle pieces
The Puzzle Pieces
The puzzle pieces were designed in such a way to allow a custom game design easy. As well as easy fabrication. This led to the design of the 3 different types of puzzle pieces. Creating a corner piece design, edge piece design, and a middle piece design allows for easy customization of game boards. Gatorboard was chosen as the material for the puzzle pieces to allow for a lightweight and durable design. Each board contains a grid such that, regardless of how it is connected, it will always match with the other puzzle pieces allowing for easy grid expansion. The grid is made up of copper tape that will easily allow for a mat to be placed over it and still be detected by a metal sensor. This allows for a customized game design of any size, provided there are enough pieces, and any mat design.
Creating and Manufacturing the Pieces
The puzzle pieces were created in solid works and saved as a .DXF file. In solidworks the dimensions of the pieces can be specified. The .DXF file was then uploaded to CAMBAM in order to generate a gcode which was uploaded onto CNC software. The puzzle pieces were then milled out using a CNC. for the purposes of the maze, 64 game board pieces were created totaling 7 hours through the CNC.
Adding the copper tape
In Order to ensure that the copper tape lined up with each puzzle piece regardless of connection some precautions were taken. First, the game board was constructed around the grid system so as to ensure that the pieces will always align with a grid. Second, when constructing the pieces, the construction of the grid was done with the complete game board assembled and measurements take in pencil before the tape was laid down. The copper tape was laid carefully across the whole board and along the pencil marks in order to ensure straight lines for the grid.
A lot of thought and precautions went into building the design for the puzzle pieces and the game board. The care and precautions were taken in order to ensure the game board satisfied all the constraints. In the end the game board turned out to be light, durable, and easily customized with a hidden grid system that accommodates a small bot with dimensions about 2 square inches.