Congratulations on your purchase of our insert for Machi Koro!  Our insert is designed to store the base game and many expansions.  Construction is relatively easy and only requires about 25 minutes.



Our inserts are almost always cut using a NAF HDF.  The HDF we use is formed using a special resin that results in a wood product that is impregnated with polyurethane.  This makes the resulting wood heavier than normal HDF, but this HDF contains no added formaldehyde, unlike 99% of the HDF available in the U.S. market.  HDF is constructed from tiny wood bits (essentially sawdust) mixed with a resin, and then heat pressed.  This results in a very uniform wood sheet that is smooth on both sides and contains no knots or patches.  Cutting HDF on the laser is like cutting butter with a warm knife.  It is the ideal material to cut!  However, keep in mind that all wood sheet products of this type do experience some color variation.  This typically manifests as slightly darker splotches a millimeter or two in size here and there on the surface of the wood.  This is normal.



Everyone has a favorite glue.  Mine is Sobo Craft Glue.  When building our inserts, you want a thick, tacky white glue that sets quickly and dries clear, allowing you to continue building and not hold pieces while waiting for them to bond together.  You don’t have to use Sobo, but you should use a tacky glue if possible.  It will make the experience almost effortless.  Also, we ship our inserts with the small bits of wood still present in the finger joint cutouts and you should use the longer sticks to assist with glue cleanup as you build your insert.

Painter’s Tape (Blue)

While a tacky glue makes construction easy, some blue painter’s tape will really help with the corner joins.  You can just hold the pieces together for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, but painter’s tape will do the job for you and a roll can purchased for just a few dollars in any home improvement store.  Painter’s tape is ideal because the adhesive used is strong, but not too strong.  Stronger adhesives can damage wood surfaces or leave adhesive behind.

Work Area

A good work area will make your construction project quick and orderly.  You don’t need much space – maybe a 24″x 24″ area.  I like to lay some printer paper down on my work surface and I place an extra piece of paper to the side to act as a glue collection area as I use the glue sticks to clean up my joints.


You have the option of sanding the pieces of your new insert.  We cut our inserts using a custom lamella arrangement to reduce laser flashback on the lower surface of the wood, and we use a nose cone that provides low-pressure air assist to reduce the amount of “browning” around the cuts, but some browning and flashback are unavoidable.  If you do choose to sand the pieces, use a 320 grit sandpaper and hand sand the pieces.  A very light sanding will remove any “browning.”


We don’t recommend that you paint or finish your insert as this may interfere with the placement of the dividers.  They are sized to fit snugly in the lanes of your new insert.  The addition of paint will likely make it very hard to place them properly.  Staining will generally work great, but may require that you then sand your pieces a bit.  If you decide to stain, I would recommend you stain both sides of each frame, allow to dry, lightly sand as needed, and then remove the pieces from the frames.  Finishing in polyurethane is very tricky with inserts that have divider slots.  The polyurethane can get into those divider slots and cause problems.

Handle with Care

You should always use care when punching your pieces out of the frames.  This is especially important when punching lane rails that have many slots for dividers.  The HDF is tough, but applying a large amount of force is not recommended.  Use a front and back punching motion to free pieces from the frame.  Our inserts are designed to be punched from the containing frames without the use of a knife to assist.

Dry Fitting

Before you start glueing things, you should layout the pieces and dry fit them so you have a good understanding of how they go together.  This is Golden Rule #1.  This will  help you avoid mistakes such as glueing the wrong side of a piece.  Once you dry fit your insert, you can lay the pieces out in their approximate positions as a reminder of what goes where.  It helps!  When we produce an insert, we produce the entire box from the same sheet of wood to ensure that color and finish match.

The very first thing you should do is grab the base of the insert, remove it from the frame, and ensure it fits in your box.  While the laser is very precise, manufacturers do change box size sometimes.  If you find your base doesn’t fit into your box, let us know by using the contact form.

Constructing the Tray

Your insert provides a stack of three (3) bit trays with an engraved lid to store your coins and dice.  Let’s build the trays and then set them aside to dry.  You should punch out the six (6) tray end pieces, six (6) tray side pieces, three (3) bottoms, and the engraved lid.


First, do a quick dry fit to ensure you understand how the trays go together.  You can set aside the parts for the other two (2) identical trays and the lid for now.  Once you have built the first one, you will build the others.


Now that you know how the tray goes together, let’s get to building.  Place some glue on the bottom of the tray end piece then place the part and cleanup excess glue (this part is always assumed once you place a piece.)


Next, do the same for one of the longer tray side pieces.


Next, place the other end piece on the tray.


Finally, place the last side piece on the tray.


Now, repeat this process for the other two trays.

Once you have completed the other two trays and allowed a few minutes for the glue to set, place the engraved lid on the stacked trays and set them aside to dry.

Remove the Main Insert Pieces from the Frames

Next, punch out the rest of the pieces for the main insert.


Build the Right Insert Inner Wall Structure

Because of the unique design of this insert, you will be building the right insert inner wall structure, then the left inner wall structure, and then glueing the inner wall structures together with the end walls.


First, apply glue to one of the cross support dividers and connect it to the side wall.


Next, do the same for the second support divider on the side wall.  Then apply glue to notched ends of the internal support dividers


and connect them to center wall.  As always, cleanup the excess glue.


Build the Left Insert Inner Wall Structure

Now let’s build the left inner wall structure.


Place glue on the notched end of the cross support divider and connect it to the center wall.


Next, apply glue to the other end of the support divider IMG_2838

and connect the outer wall.


Attach the Wall Structures to the End Walls

Excellent!  You’re almost done.


Next, let’s attach the end walls to the two inner pieces.  Place glue on the ends of the inner wall structure and attach an end piece.


Next place glue on the ends of the other side structure


and connect to the end wall part.  Feel free to use some painter’s tape to secure the corners of the newly glued insert.


Now do the same for the final end wall.


Placing the Insert

You should let your insert dry overnight and once dry, drop it into the box and fill it up with cards!


If the insert is obviously larger than the box, don’t force it as this will split the corners of the box.  Our inserts are designed to fit snugly into various manufacturer’s boxes, but sometimes a manufacturer may change the box design.  Be mindful of this possibility.

Sometimes, the printed paper that wraps around from the outside of the box and into the inside of the box will provide resistance.  Gentle, but firm pressure applied to each side of the insert, in turn, will slowly slide your new insert into the box.