Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mini holder for painting

So, I have been painting a lot lately, and it gets me annoyed sometimes to have to figure out a decent way to hold the mini. I know almost everyone uses some of the tacky stuff for posters and what-have-you, but I cannot seem to get that stuff to hold the mini well enough. Then I recalled a holder I had seen years ago and figured I would try my hand at it. What resulted was a quick afternoon project that didn't cost much and is working really well.  The beauty of these is that they are totally adjustable, hold the fig like an iron vice and then pop the fig off with no hassle at all, and no cleaning up tacky residue or anything like that.

The fig holders are adjustable to hold any mini from 25mm base to 70mm base, square, oval or round. Very handy. Here is what you need to make a set of 10.  The total cost for me was about $25.

- 40" long 3/4" dowel rod, cut into 4" lengths - I find the 4" gives a good handle on the fig without being too big.
- Some Matte paper, heavy card-stock or even sheet styrene, cut into 2.5" squares. Need a total of 11 of these, 1 template and the rest for the mini holders
- 40 #8 Machine screws - 3/4 Long
- 80 #8 Washers
- 40 #8 Nuts
- 40 Rubber faucet washers (My ACE hardware had these for $0.20 each, most expensive part)
- 10 Flush head nails (Make sure these have a very low profile but wide head (keep the jokes to yourself)).
- Wood glue - use your fave, I used Elmer's carpenter glue
- Compass to draw lines on the template

Step 1

Take 1 of your squares and mark the center and make a small hole in the exact center.  This is your template piece and will guarantee all the squares are the same. Use the compass to measure out a 25mm and a 70mm circle. Now draw a line across the center from corner to corner. This gives you the center line for the next 2 holes. These you have to eyeball yourself. You will use these holes to make the oval that the fig holding hardware will 'ride' in. Using thick Matte board was a godsend here, I could use a hobby knife to make the hole just right. You only need to get it right once, the template will make all the others work.

You can see in the picture 1 how I eyeballed mine.
1 - Template

Once the template is done, use it to mark the oval locations on all the other templates.  Just stack it on top of the fig holder, make sure it's even on all sides and trace the oval.  Rotate it 3 more times until you have an oval on each side.  Know there is knife work to be done.  CAREFULLY, cut out each oval and the center hole.  I used a Dremel workbench press for this but you can easily do it by hand or on virtually any drill press, depending on the material you choose for the holder stock.

Step 2

All the hard work is over, trust me.  Now you just need to get the hardware together and make the fig holders.  Put a rubber washer on the machine screw and then push that through the oval hole.  On the back side put a washer then a nut.  Spin the nut up to Goodentight.  Do that for each hole on the holder stock.  (Picture 2 shows the hardware, picture 4 shows the assembly without the nut)
2 - Hardware
4 - Assembly start

Step 3

Drill a small hole in the dowel rods.  I mean a small hole, it's just a starter hole to keep it from cracking when you drive the nail in.  (Picture 3).  Now just add a little wood glue to the top of the dowel.  (Picture 6) Hammer the nail home.  Leave it to FULLY dry (At least an hour, I'm impatient as all hell) (Picture 7)

3 - Assembly in work

6 - Nail and glue

7 - Drying

Step 4

Now use it to paint your minis.  Very handy, if I do say so myself.  (Pics 8 & 9).  All you do is center the mini on the holder, slide the rubber washers (and nuts/bolts) to firmly grasp the base and gently tighten the Philips head screw while holding the nut on the back with your other finger.  You're NOT wrenching these down so you don't need massive torque - NO POWER TOOLS.  lol

Step 5

You can make a base by getting a hunk of wood (I used 2 hunks of wood) and using a drill press to drill 3/4" holes in the wood to take the dowel and hold it.