Rail Design Help - Diffuser mounting w/ playing surface (1 Viewer)

chkyrslf

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I'd like to put a query out to the table builders. I've stalled my table build until I can lock in the rail design and particularly where the playing surface stops & how the diffuser is mounted.

I was originally planning to keep the playing surface piece of plywood almost out to the edge for additional structure/rigidity, so when people lean on the rail there is no chance of any sag, but I've seen a few on PCF where the playing surface is its own piece that sits within the boundary of the rail and butts up against the diffuser. Therefore having the base as the only continuous piece of timber - it's possible that when I bolt the rail to the other surfaces, that this provides the desired rigidity anyway?

For simplicity, here's a few different design options:

Note: Darker brown colour shows pieces joined together for removable rail section.

Option 1 - Diffuser presses into foam/cloth (cloth stapled under riser or around playing surface)

Rail 3 - Padding press.png



Option 2 - Playing surface padding runs to edge (riser compresses down on padding)


Rail 7 - Padding to edge.png


My concern with Options 1 and 2 is that this table will be assembled and disassembled between use, and I'm worried that the pressing on and off of the gaming cloth and padding may loosen or damage it over time.


Option 3 - Cloth stapled on top, behind diffuser (similar to option 1, without pressing on padding)
note: gold is a cupholder, forgot to remove layer.

Rail 5 - Other option.png




Option 4 - Playing surface is cut shorter, cloth wrapped around and stapled on underside (I think this is what I see a bit on PCF?)

Rail 1 - New Design .png


The graphic above shows my concern where weight on the rail is essentially taken by only the 1x 3/4" base piece, but then I'm guessing the playing surface pieces being snug up against each other and the whole thing bolted together provides some extra strength?

Here's one showing the considered bolt placement (about 6 or 8 around the table):

Rail 3 - New Design w Bolt.png



Any input on designs would be much appreciated, thank you!
 

Attachments

  • Rail 7 - Padding to edge.png
    Rail 7 - Padding to edge.png
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However you end up doing it I would recommend having the bottom of the acrylic securely mounted. Having it fit snug up against the underside of the rail is fine, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with it just "floating" snug against the foam/playing surface.

Depending on how you cut your pieces you should create a natural void between your "Playing Surface" & your "Guide Piece". Use that void as a place to securely hold your acrylic.
 
Thanks @bsdunbar1 and @Irish for the input!

It only clicked for me after doing these drawings, that to cut the playing surface is going to leave a 1/4" void due to the router bit width. I guess with the diffuser 1/8" wide, I can glue some 1/8" spacers (behind diffuser) to pack this gap.
 
Wrap your playing surface with 1/8" hardboard - same height as the foam, that way when you wrap the cloth you will have a square edge. Otherwise when you pull the cloth tight you will have a rounded edge up against your diffuser.

This is how I construct mine.

RRTable.png
 
Wrap your playing surface with 1/8" hardboard - same height as the foam, that way when you wrap the cloth you will have a square edge. Otherwise when you pull the cloth tight you will have a rounded edge up against your diffuser.

This is how I construct mine.

View attachment 730206
How had I not thought of this? Setting that 1/8" hardwood so it gets wrapped inside the cloth too. You're a genius @bsdunbar1 !

I assume your outer piece of hardwood is to 'cap' the plywood for visual effect, but why the hardwood strip where mounting LEDs?
 
I would do something like this (similar to option 4)

assembled view:
View attachment 729941

exploded view:
View attachment 729942
@Irish how come you cut the spacer? It looks like it could have stayed as a single piece rather than also having the 1/4" router cut?


Okay I've taken on @Irish and @bsdunbar1 's advice, and have a modified design. The one thing that might be different is that because I need it to be disassembled and stored in pieces (not sure if you guys have it set up permanently?) I won't have the playing surface and base together when disassembled due to the weight to move, so that leaves the diffuser in a slightly precarious spot.

If the diffuser were a continuous piece it would be easier, but it will be 4x pieces so I may have to glue it to the piece shown below...

Scratching my head a bit for the optimal solution, but might just be how it has to be to trade off between wanting diffusers, LEDs and also being modular :unsure:

Rail Option 4 modified.png



Exploded view - 4 pieces

Rail - exploded view.png
 
@Irish how come you cut the spacer? It looks like it could have stayed as a single piece rather than also having the 1/4" router cut?
Because its probably the same section I use for my solid raised rail, which needs to be removable :) No reason, that spacer can be one piece.
 
I assume your outer piece of hardwood is to 'cap' the plywood for visual effect, but why the hardwood strip where mounting LEDs?

I use the hardboard on the outer perimeter to fill the voids left from the riser blocks.
Same with the hardboard on the inside for the led's.

20210123_192021000_iOS.jpg
 
I'm going to be a bit of a stormy raincloud here. If you're planning on moving this table around a lot AND fully disassembling it each time (ie removing the rail), I'd reconsider the lights. My second table has an LED backlit riser and it's fairly portable with folding legs - I keep it stored on it's side against the wall when not in use, and have had no issues with the lights or diffuser. BUT - it's stored fully assembled, I never take off the rail. Taking off the rail and getting the diffuser re-aligned and the wires all tucked in the right spot isn't a task I would want to do every time I moved the table. It's not hard per say, but it can be very finicky. To boot, the diffuser material is very brittle and has a tendency to chip/crack pretty easily - less handling is better.

If you stick with the lights, I would highly recommend just having a buddy help you move the fully assembled table (keep the rail bolted on) instead of taking it apart all the time. If you really need to fully disassemble it each time, I'd consider moving to a solid raised rail and forego the lights. Just my 2¢ worth.
 
I'm going to be a bit of a stormy raincloud here. If you're planning on moving this table around a lot AND fully disassembling it each time (ie removing the rail), I'd reconsider the lights. My second table has an LED backlit riser and it's fairly portable with folding legs - I keep it stored on it's side against the wall when not in use, and have had no issues with the lights or diffuser. BUT - it's stored fully assembled, I never take off the rail. Taking off the rail and getting the diffuser re-aligned and the wires all tucked in the right spot isn't a task I would want to do every time I moved the table. It's not hard per say, but it can be very finicky. To boot, the diffuser material is very brittle and has a tendency to chip/crack pretty easily - less handling is better.

If you stick with the lights, I would highly recommend just having a buddy help you move the fully assembled table (keep the rail bolted on) instead of taking it apart all the time. If you really need to fully disassemble it each time, I'd consider moving to a solid raised rail and forego the lights. Just my 2¢ worth.

All solid advice, thank you very much. Completely understand what you're saying...I'll give it some serious thought before I progress (tomorrow).
 
Sorry for bumping an old thread but there's great info here and I've got a question about this diagram:

Wrap your playing surface with 1/8" hardboard - same height as the foam, that way when you wrap the cloth you will have a square edge. Otherwise when you pull the cloth tight you will have a rounded edge up against your diffuser.

This is how I construct mine.

View attachment 730206

Could the "Rail Bottom" and "Playing Surface Outer" be one piece? e.g:

1683566619214.png


I'm guessing it's this way because these two pieces are the remnants of other cuts and it's most efficient but I'm just starting to explore building a table so I'm having trouble visualizing everything.

@bsdunbar1 @Irish
 
Sorry for bumping an old thread but there's great info here and I've got a question about this diagram:



Could the "Rail Bottom" and "Playing Surface Outer" be one piece? e.g:

View attachment 1131775

I'm guessing it's this way because these two pieces are the remnants of other cuts and it's most efficient but I'm just starting to explore building a table so I'm having trouble visualizing everything.

@bsdunbar1 @Irish

That would be tough to work with, as those two pieces are meant to be secured to different parts. The "rail bottom" get attached to the rail, and "Playing surface outer" get attached to the base to give you a slot for the diffuser to sit in. The assembled rail then sits on top of the whole thing.

1683567649560.png
 
That would be tough to work with, as those two pieces are meant to be secured to different parts. The "rail bottom" get attached to the rail, and "Playing surface outer" get attached to the base to give you a slot for the diffuser to sit in. The assembled rail then sits on top of the whole thing.

View attachment 1131780
Ah, ok! I hadn't considered that it'd be trickier to assemble without the diffuser being sandwiched before the rail is set in place. That makes sense... thanks @Irish! I'm not sure why my brain finds an inner play surface and an outer play surface so odd, but it's making more sense now.
 
That would be tough to work with, as those two pieces are meant to be secured to different parts. The "rail bottom" get attached to the rail, and "Playing surface outer" get attached to the base to give you a slot for the diffuser to sit in. The assembled rail then sits on top of the whole thing.

View attachment 1131780
So perhaps a dumb question, but if you were doing a 3/4" raised rail without the diffuser, is there any reason that the "playing surface" couldn't extend as one solid sheet to the edge of the base, and then the rail assembly be fastened directly to the top of it?
 
So perhaps a dumb question, but if you were doing a 3/4" raised rail without the diffuser, is there any reason that the "playing surface" couldn't extend as one solid sheet to the edge of the base, and then the rail assembly be fastened directly to the top of it?

Unless you add a little riser piece somewhere in the rail, there will be a gap between the base sheet and rail on the outside because of the playing surface foam thickness:

Picture3.png
 
Unless you add a little riser piece somewhere in the rail, there will be a gap between the base sheet and rail on the outside because of the playing surface foam thickness:

View attachment 1133951
Got it.

Poker Table Section.JPG


This is the section view of how I planned to build. This build wouldn't use LED lighting but could add a rope light later if I wanted. I also think it could be made with just 2 sheets of plywood if I made the rail spacer out of cut pieces like bsdunbar rather than a solid ring all the way around, but may use a third just for the added support. Do you see any obvious issues with this design?

Also, I see some of these designs use a separate sheet for the base and playing surface. Is that necessary for support or longer leg mount screws? I intended for my base and playing surface to be the same sheet.
 
Got it.

View attachment 1136182

This is the section view of how I planned to build. This build wouldn't use LED lighting but could add a rope light later if I wanted. I also think it could be made with just 2 sheets of plywood if I made the rail spacer out of cut pieces like bsdunbar rather than a solid ring all the way around, but may use a third just for the added support. Do you see any obvious issues with this design?

Also, I see some of these designs use a separate sheet for the base and playing surface. Is that necessary for support or longer leg mount screws? I intended for my base and playing surface to be the same sheet.

2 issues:
  1. If you only use spacers for the riser, there's no smooth continuous surface to apply the interior edge banding. You might be able "span the gaps", but imho it's not going to look good and definitely won't be durable (the edge banding will crack/chip in the gapped areas).
  2. You need area underneath both the exterior and interior lips to staple the vinyl (see below). That's why the "S3" sheet in my example above is two pieces - the outer S3 gets built into the combined rail, and the inner S3 is separate. This way you assemble the rail, upholster it, and then fastened the inner, edge banded S3 sheet to the rest of the rail. Check out this thread here, more information and pics: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/irishs-main-table-build.58753/post-1141002
1684339970800.png
 
2 issues:
  1. If you only use spacers for the riser, there's no smooth continuous surface to apply the interior edge banding. You might be able "span the gaps", but imho it's not going to look good and definitely won't be durable (the edge banding will crack/chip in the gapped areas).
  2. You need area underneath both the exterior and interior lips to staple the vinyl (see below). That's why the "S3" sheet in my example above is two pieces - the outer S3 gets built into the combined rail, and the inner S3 is separate. This way you assemble the rail, upholster it, and then fastened the inner, edge banded S3 sheet to the rest of the rail. Check out this thread here, more information and pics: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/irishs-main-table-build.58753/post-1141002
View attachment 1136205

Understood. Thank you. I see your point that I couldn't assemble the rail and still hide the staples where the vinyl fastens to the inside of the rail. I was confused as to why yours was two pieces but makes sense now.
 

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