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What's the best way to cut a circle in chipboard?

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/14/2009

Hey all,

I'm working on a game that requires a "battle-wheel". There will be two circles, stacked on top of each other. The circle underneath will have a bunch of numbers written around the outside edge. The circle on top will have a notch cut out so that it exposes just one number on the circle underneath it.

I bought a compass-type thingy with a blade on it hoping I could score the circle a bunch of times and eventually cut though the chipboard, but that's very tedious. I keep screwing up and losing the center point. (even though the compass cutter has a nice, metal pin that's supposed to secure the center when you cut around it.)

I hope my example is clear and I hope someone has a few tried and true tips to give me for cutting this out so that it looks good. Earlier attempts have been pretty raggedy.

While we're at it, does anyone have some ideas on how to secure the two circles together in such a way that they stay nice and tight, but not so tight that the circle on top can't turn to expose the numbers on the bottom? Rivets from Home Depot? Brads? Nuts, bolts, and washers?



Joined: 10/28/2009
As for cutting, I have seen

As for cutting, I have seen drillbits for an electric handheld drill that are a circle mounted onto the shaft that clamps into the drill. I don't know what dimension these are, or what dimension you need, but if you can find one, it might work.

Another option would be to get the lid of a circular tin box, and c-clamp the lid onto your surface, and then cut around that using it as a stencil. The clamp could help prevent movement.

I was working on a similar thing one of my games, and I found a number of options for the connector which would lie flat (although I haven't tried them yet). If you go to a fabric supply store like Joanne, you can usually find gromits in various diameters. These come in two pieces, and are hammered together. They are designed for fabric, but can work for this too. Some come with a clamp that you apply them with while others have a anvil which you use a hammer with. If you don't hammer as hard as possible, it is possible to leave enough space once fastened to allow the thing to spin some (is this a spinner or just a counter? Spinner might not work...). Similarly, if you go to any craft store with scrapbooking supplies, you can find little eyelets which can accomplish the same thing as the gromits, but for much thinner materials. The eyelets come in a million colors too, but you'll need to buy the tool to close them. Both of these options, if you don't hammer the thing as hard as possible, will leave some room to spin the thing, and should lie flat on the table with a flat top as well (unlike wingnuts).

Hope any of this is helpful! Good luck!

Joined: 04/14/2009
Good ideas!

Thanks, Bernster!

I've got a Dremmel tool and I was thinking about using that somehow. My problem is that I don't really want to purchase a bunch of special materials just for this one project. Your idea of clamping a round, metal can lid is good, too! A couple of stacked CD's might work, although now I have to figure out how to notch a CD cleanly without shattering it. The beauty of that plan is that I can use standard CD labeling equipment (which I already have) to create the artwork and stomp it onto the CD. I might be able to find grommits that will fit through the fairly wide holes, but even if I can't , I can probably figure out a way to fill in the hole with something and THEN use a grommit.

To answer your's not a spinner. It's going to be used to determine the number of troops you want to commit to battle. When you invade a territory, you commit a certain number of troops, plus you'll have some special cards in your arsenal. So...the wheel is merely a selection mechanism. I like your idea of using grommits! I've used the anvil type before, but I think I'll try to get a clamp to do it...I feel like I might have better control over how tightly I clamp things together that way.

Wonderful ideas! I appreciate the help!


Joined: 07/08/2009
Also . . .

. . . is it something a track with a marker on it could represent? Might alleviate some hassle?


Joined: 04/14/2009
LOL! Yeah....

Actually, yes... That might work and I've been exploring that option, too. I just like the look of the wheel. The people that are involved in the battle will set up their battle plans secretly and then reveal their plan (at the same time) when ready. I liked how compact the battle wheel is, but a track with little pegs might work just as well, especially if it's designed properly. I'm in no way locked into the battle wheel mind set...I just like it. Plus, it presents a conundrum that I find interesting to work out...I'm not saying I'm doing it because it's difficult...indeed, if it proves too difficult I'll explore other ideas. There are so many creative, innovative people here I thought there might be a solution I hadn't thought of yet.

Joined: 11/18/2009
Use a chisel and hammer

You could buy a half round chisel and use a hammer and chisel on some old board.
2 hits for each circle, nice clean cut!

Joined: 04/14/2009
Hmmm....chisel...and more on the track idea

These circles are going to be about 4½ to 4 3/4 inches in diameter. I guess I'm not seeing how the chisel idea would work in this case. Could you elaborate for me?

Regarding the track and marker idea...since you can select anywhere from 1 to 30 men, won't using a track introduce some cheating elements to the battles? You can detect (more or less) how many men your opponent will be choosing because you can simply look at where he's putting his marker. Using a wheel will make it impossible to tell what number is being selected.


Actually, you can eleminate this by designing it properly. Perhaps I could make it so that you've got three rows of ten peg spaces each. You only need to put one peg in the hole representing how many men you want to use so I guess my earlier argument doesn't really hold water, does it? :)

schtoom's picture
Joined: 08/31/2009
You could go with a small

You could go with a small board that uses pegs. If you want to make it harder for an opponent to decipher your chosen numbers, you could use a peg for the "ten's" spot and another peg for the "one's" spot. I think it'd make a bit harder to tell what number range you're marking based on hand position alone.

Just make sure you can't see the pegs through holes in the back of the board, I suppose.

Joined: 04/23/2009
use the clear "CDs" at the bottom of the CDRW "cakes"

these are about the right size, really cheap, and you can obscure as much as you want of the surface.

Joined: 04/14/2009

This is a GREAT idea! No cutting necessary. I can just cut the label to show what I want to show.

Brilliant! Thanks!

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