Building a TV Case for your D&D Gaming Table for Digital Maps


Check this out! We made this incredible wooden case –
it is made out of oak – for this 55 inch television to sit
on our gaming table so we can play animated maps with sound effects
during our Dungeons and Dragons games. We can put our miniatures right on this and scale
the grid so it works perfectly. I love this. I made this
with my friend Lou Anders. He is the author of the “Thrones and Bones” series. This is
his gaming table, his gaming set up here, and it is absolutely amazing. I
love it. I am going to show you how we made it.
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So, this is the television that Lou bought
that he wanted to put on his gaming table. So, he bought the television first
and then we are going to build the frame around it. As with most things
that I build I did not have any kind of plans. I had Lou take some basic
measurements of the television and he brought that to the hardware store, so he and I
started to buy different supplies for the table. Lou decided to
make the whole wood out of oak, so we bought oak planks that were three quarters
of an inch thick. You might be tempted to think that you could use some of the thinner planks
that are already cut, but that was not the case. Actually, the television is pretty thick.
Thicker, than you might expect, so we are going to have to rip the wood
down on the table saw. This is the basic schematic of what I was trying to think out
in my head when we were at the hardware store, because we have the television that is 3.5
inches thick at its widest point, at its thickest point, so we’ve got
to measure from that. So, we’ve got 3.5 inches for the television and then we are going to cut a
groove into the interior of the case to slide
in the plexiglass, and that plexiglass is going to be a quarter of an inch thick, so I’ve got a
cut a quarter of an inch groove, and we want that plexiglass to sit right on top of
the television screen, and then we are going to have a quarter of an inch on top of the plexiglass
as kind of a lip to hold it in place. And then beneath the television we are going
to have to have a half an inch because we are going to put slats underneath it
to hold the television in place. So, I was kind of adding this together in my head
when we were buying the wood. We have 3.5 inches for the television,
we’ve got a quarter of inch for the plexiglass, a quarter of an inch for the lip,
that’s four inches. We have another half an inch beneath the TV, so that is
going to be 4.5 inches that we need in total height for the case.
There are a few different ways that you could join the wood frame together. One is just
sticking the two planks and sides to it. That would be the most basic
way. Another way would be to make 45 degree cuts, kind of a miter
joint and put them together. I wanted something that was a bit better than just
putting the two planks together butted up against one another so I
decided to go with this saw pattern, this kind of jigsaw pattern that was going to put them together.
I thought that might give it a little bit of a rustic look. It is for a D&D
gaming table anyway, and even though it was a little more work I thought it was going to look a little
bit nicer, and also kind of provide an aesthetic to the table, kind of like
it was put together in a medieval woodworking shop or something. So, the lengths of the board
that needed to be cut needed to be a quarter of an inch longer on each side,
so an inch and a half longer than the dimensions of the table, so we are going to cut out that jigsaw
shape. I didn’t have the prepared, so what I did was I used Adobe
Illustrator while I was in Lou’s garage and we just cut out
a template for that, that we just taped to the boards so that we could mark
the jigsaw shape. Here you can see it quite nicely. And also you can see
that we are going to be using screws as the attachment pieces here. I’m
countersinking all the screws, that way we can put caps on them. That way you won’t
see the screws when the case is finished. And I also predrilled all of
the holes. I think that might be what I am doing here. Because I was very affraid
that if I tried to screw in these screws the wood was going to split, and I did not
want that to happen. I did not want to have to remake any of these pieces. So, everything
was predrilled. Lou wanted the plexiglass that is in this case
that is going to be protecting the top of his television during gameplay to be sitting
right on top of the TV screen, so we were going to put a quarter of an inch
of plexiglass on top of the TV screen. So, in order to do that,
we needed to route out a groove that is going to go all the way around
that we can slide this plexiglass into. So, having the router table was an excellent
way to do this quickly. I don’t know how I would have done it without a router table
actually. There is one of the finished short pieces. Again, you can see the groove
that is going to have the plexiglass inserted and then also the tab on the end
which is going to allow us to put the table together. Here we are actually assembling it.
And, as you can see, I am putting in the screw by hand. I did not want
to split the wood. That is why I predrilled all of the holes and then we just used
handheld screwdrivers to put the screws in. So, if we felt like there was too much tension or something like that
then we could stop and pull the screw back out. Fortunately,
we didn’t split any of the wood this way. We took the whole thing into his living room several
times to test fit it with the television and you can see that test fit here.
I think this is before we put in any of the screws. We are going to leave the back of the whole thing
open so that there is lots of airflow around it, and it also makes the back
of the television very accessible so we can hook up the power and also
the HDMI cable, and anything else and that way we don’t have to worry about drilling out
holes for cable accommodation or anything like that. The entire back
of the television is open. It is really starting to look like something and as you can see Lou is very
happy about that. These slats that hold the television in, we wanted to set them
down inside the sides so we accounted for that
when we cut the width of the sides. It is a half an inch thick slat, so
we used a combination of a jigsaw and I believe a scroll saw to
cut out those notches that will allow the slats to fit down against them
and leave a smooth edge on the edge of the case. So, here I am with
a template again that I whipped up in Adobe Illustrator while we were working because I
need to be able to cut out an area for the speakers of the television
and also, there might be some airflow around there too. You can see those on that side.
So, we didn’t want to cover up any of that, especially, the air flow, of course
but also the speakers because we wanted to use it for sound effects during the game.
So, we measured out where those holes needed to be and then I am going to cut out some rectangles
there, to accommodate the speakers and the fan. Every TV is different
and that is why you need to have your television so you know exactly what you are going to be
making, as far as airflow and accommodation for cables and all of that goes.
I am using a jigsaw here to try to cut out those rectangles.
This was not ideal. I wasn’t too happy with the cuts here. We may end up
covering these with a screen later. But, actually, when the whole thing was finished I didn’t really notice all that
much, anyway. So, here you can see the bottom piece with the rectangles
cut out for the speakers and the vent. We squared up the television
very nicely for a dry fit here so we could measure exactly where we wanted to cut off
those slats for the back. Then we cut them off. It is really starting to look like a
case now. So, then we took it back into the garage and put screws in to
attach those slats to back. We used half an inch screws for this.
We also countersunk these just a little bit. We are not going to work about capping these because they are on the back
and you will never see them, but we did want them to sit flush against those slats there.
And there it is. It kind of looks like we were building a box. It sure took a lot of effort though.
Everything takes longer than you think it will. Here is out test fit
with the television inside, turned right-side up. Now, an important
point here is that this case not only has to surround the television,
and protect it, but it also has to level it. Because the back of most television
screen are not flat. They are not design to sit on a table like this and be completely
flat. After that, I set Lou to work sanding. We had sanded some of
the pieces first, but it was really good also to sand it when it was assembled
like that so that if there is some high point or something where two pieces of wood
connect, they could go ahead be sanded flat and flush. After sanding
the whole thing was dissembled. There was a lot of assembly and disassembly.
We did that quite a bit. We put in a lot of screws and we took out a lot of screws.
We took it all apart so it could be stained. Basically it too about
a weekend of work to get the case to this point and then I left it with
Lou to stain it. He used a dark walnut stain because that matches his gaming
table and also a lot of his gaming accessories, and so over the next week
he stained. In some cases, the stain didn’t do exactly what he wanted
it to on the first try and so he ended up sanding it down and then restaining,
but ended up getting a really great dark wood effect for
the entire case. He also coated it in polyurethane. He put on
two coats of polyurethane to protect it. Then I came back over
to test fit some of the hardware. We had picked up some very nice brushed
silver drawer handles that we are putting on the case. That way we can lift it up
off the table for storage and put it back on, and then also for feet
because we want the whole case to be up off the tabletop for airflow,
we picked up some drawer pulls, that are also some very nice
silver, and those are going to become the feet for the entire case, and so we are putting on
six feet on the bottom slats there. Before
we disassemble the whole thing so Lou could stain it, we did measure the
entire case because wanted to custom order the plexiglass to fit the case
that we had built. We thought that would be the best way to do that. So, rather than trying to
just order the glass from plans or something, we’d go ahead and build exactly what it needed
to be and then order the glass to fit. So we we ordered the plexiglass
which is just an acrylic glass from TAP plastics, and then when the glass
came in, I came back to not only put on the hardware,
but then also slide in the glass. So, here you can see with the frame reassembled,
sitting in his living room, we left one side off, so that we
could slide in the glass. And there is the glass. The whole case it sitting
upside down right now so that we can put in the television. One advantage to
having these screws to put the entire thing together with is that
we could slide the whole television down inside with the screws loose,
and then tighten all the screws around the television. That allowed us to
get a really get a nice tight fit around the television without having
to be super precise with all the measurements. Now, let’s talk about
leveling the television. It was easy enough to drop the television down in the case
when the whole case is upside down, so we knew that was exactly how we wanted it to fit.
But as you can see right here, the back of the television is sloped.
So, this doesn’t just naturally want to say level on your table. After
much thought, we came up with a very easy solution to keep that television exactly where we wanted
it. With the television upside down, on the plexiglass exactly like
we wanted it, we cut this piece of oak and then set it down on top
of the TV, as you can see, and pushed it down as far as it would go.
That way it is going to hold it right there. So that piece of oak is sitting at
that same angle the television is at, but then we drilled a couple of different
holes in both sides, that way we could take screws and drive
the screws into that piece of wood, and then the television after that
did not move. It was great. There was still just one other thing to do to keep
the television level in that case, and that was to fill up the little
bit of gap there was between that central slat
and the bottom. It wanted to wiggle just a little bit. But, rather than
try to cut a piece of wood or do some kind of fancy cut or something
to keep that exactly where we wanted it. We decided to just use foam. This is
just the craft foam you get from the store. We have it sitting round like
any kind of craft store or hobby store, and we found that three
layers of this rather thin foam would make the
center slat there fit very very snug against the television.
So, when we screwed that center slat on, we just put three layers of foam there
and that took up the gap perfectly, and the whole television stayed level. That is
basically whole case. Here is a closeup of a corner. So you can see how we
have the wood going together here at this corner. And you can see that I’ve got the screws
countersunk. I think I pull them out here and countersink just a little but more.
At this point, We decided to test the TV. Before we really finalized
it so that it was not going to come apart, we decided to make sure everything was working
and we hooked it up to Lou’s laptop. And it works
and when we saw it sitting there working with all of the sound effects and everything, man, it was incredible.
We couldn’t wait to go ahead and get everything finished. So, knowing that everything worked,
we attached the buttons over all the screws and then we lifted it into place
in the center of Lou’s gaming table. And this is Tablezilla by
Carolina Game Tables. And, as you can see, it fits very well.
The intention here is that the television will live inside the case. So, that way
we can remove the entire case from the table when we are not gaming and
it can just be stored in its case and then come right back to the gaming table
the next time we play. You can see how the case sits up above the surface
of the table, and that allows us to pull the wires out and not have to worry
about drilling holes. They can go wherever they need to go in order to plug it in and wherever
the gamemaster happens to be sitting to hook up to the laptop. Here is
a very tired, but very happy Lou with the entire table setup
and ready to go for tomorrow’s game. We got this finished at about
10:00 at night, and we had the first game on it at 10:00 the
next morning. Its inaugural game was the start of “Storm King’s Thunder”
and we had a great time with it. Where this setup really shines
is when you are using one of the dynamic maps that is made by Dynamic Dungeons.
We scaled the grid on this so it was a one inch grid for our miniatures.
When you have the animation of water, or clouds, or
a breeze blowing through the trees, or even a fire in the tavern,
with all of the ambient sound that is included with these maps, it is really
an incredible gaming setup. It took us a solid weekend to build the frame.
Then I came back to Lou’s house for a couple of extended afternoons
to work on the project while he was staining and putting on polyurethane
in between. So, it was not quick thing to do as far as calendar time
goes, but we got it done in time for the D&D game. If you
enjoyed it, please let me know. If you have questions, please put them in the comments below. I will
be happy to answer. If you enjoyed the video, please give it a thumbs up and please subscribe
to the channel. I look forward to seeing you in many more videos to come.
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