As of last night 3,685 shipments have left Austin, including an assortment of APO orders that had managed to hide. (I suspect those orders were hiding behind one of the Ogre Designer's Edition boxes. I wouldn't be surprised if my car was hiding inside the canvas bag right now.) That leaves 1,374 to go!
At the current rate Eric is predicting that all games will be shipped by the end of next week. Awesome news! Thank you to Eric, Carl, and Stacy for devoting so many hours to packing and shipping games and swag. I owe you guys pizza!!!
Want A Stronger Base Tray?
When I was in China way back in 2012 I asked the engineers a question that has continued to eat at the back of my mind. It was during an involved discussion about the vac trays and how to safely pack and ship the game when I had an idea. In my experience, vac trays are sometimes more brittle than I like so in an attempt to improve the trays I asked:
"Can the reverse side of the trays be filled with spray foam at the factory?"
"No," was the response after some translation time and continued chat. But while the "no" answer was the best I could get from the factory, I managed to get a "yes" answer when I asked Richard the exact same question yesterday.
We selected a damaged base tray for the experiment. Why? To see if spray foam can not only protect the tray but also make a damaged tray perfectly useful. Once the foam-filled tray is dropped back inside the box any damage like you see in the above photos will no longer be a problem.
NOTE: Foam is being sprayed into the reverse side of the base tray. Not the side where game components are stored. This is important.
Two cans of spray foam were used for the test. Richard and I went to his workshop (well ventilated!) and he first used minimum expanding foam to fill in all of the smaller spaces. The minimum expanding foam was selected in an attempt to keep the foam from causing problems; pinholes or hairline fractures might tear as the standard spray foam expands. We wanted to be as careful as possible so we went with the cautious approach to start.
After all of the narrow spaces were filled, Richard switched over to the standard spray foam and started spraying the rest of the reverse side of the base tray. After our experiment yesterday I'm going to recommend that anyone looking to completely fill the reverse side of the tray with foam grab two cans. Just be careful so that there's not too much trim work after your foam has finished expanding.
After a few hours we removed the plexiglass to get a close look at the tray. Even without completely filling the base tray with spray foam the result is a tray that is far stronger than it was before we started. The sides of the tray -- as well as the sides of the various cavities -- are all fairly rigid and the tray feels like it will better withstand the stress of travel.
Thank you, Richard, for running with my insane idea and testing how spray foam works with the base tray. I can now sleep happy knowing that the idea worked wonderfully, and now all of you DIY fans out there see how it's possible to strengthen your base tray using a few cans of spray foam.
If any of you try this at home please note the gloves and ventilation. Safety first! Oh, and don't forget to show us photos of your foam-filled trays!
- Phil Reed