Cheap DIY cable / tentacle roller
I've been looking at the Roll Maker Set from Green Stuff World for a while, thinking that this is one tool I should buy instead of make, since I need a lot of cables for the dreadnought diorama. However, the Roll Maker is pretty pricey and shipping ain't free. But I think I found a suitable cheap homebrew solution...
A bit of backstory: In the summer we drove up to Yellowstone for a two week trip. While there, the kids wanted to do the Junior Ranger program. As reward for finishing the program, they each got a couple of "rewards", one of which was a plastic bookmark with a shifting image of Old Faithful on it. Being kids, they promptly found that that the bookmark would snap quite easily, so that is what they all then proceeded to do.
Of course, the reason the bookmarks snapped easily is because they are lenticular cards, and the tiny channels that make up the surface (which produce the shifting images as you turn the card) are weak points. These channels are exactly what I need to roll cables with. So after they got bored snapping their cards, I quietly stepped in and "rescued" the broken pieces. Once home, I set to work...
1) Because the pieces are flexible, I needed to stiffen them, so I first cut some thicker board into the right size:
Then I scored the backs of the card, and glued them onto the boards with PVA.
2) After the glue dried, I rolled out a small sausage of poly clay, placed it onto the bottom card, and carefully rolled over the sausage with the top card.
3) Profit! A nicely textured cable, ready to be plugged into the diorama.
Here is a closeup:
The texture is fine, but suitable for the 28 / 32mm models I scratchbuild.
A additional modification I plan to make will be to add a guide along one side of the bottom card. Then I don't have to as careful to keep the top card straight while rolling.
Needless to say I'm keeping an eye out for other textured surface which can be (ab)used in the same way...
Let me know if you try this :)