Congratulations on your purchase of our officially licensed Suburbia insert!  Our Suburbia insert stores the base game, Suburbia Inc, and Suburbia 5★, with some room left more.  Construction is relatively easy and only requires about 35 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 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, but may require that you then sand your pieces.  If you decide to stain, I would recommend you stain both sides of each plate, allow to dry, 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.

Constructing the Tray

Your Suburbia insert provides a lidded tray to store the money and player bits.  Let’s build the tray and then set it aside to dry.  The tray parts are contained on the B-01 frame and the three dividers for the tray are located on the A-03 frame.



First, do a quick dry fit to ensure you understand how the tray goes together.  Note that the piece with the Suburbia engraving is the tray top and should not be glued.


Now that you know how the tray goes together, let’s get to building.  Place some glue on the bottom tab of the divider for the tray and then place the piece


and cleanup excess glue (this part is always assumed once you place a piece.)



Go ahead and insert the rest of the dividers, but don’t attach the tray ends yet.

Next, place glue on the end notches of the inner dividers


and on the long side piece and attach the long side piece to the tray.


Then attach the remaining long side piece.
Finally, attach the two short end pieces to the tray.


Now you can set your tray aside to dry.  After about 15 minutes you can attach the top carefully and let the glue set overnight.


Remove the Pieces from the Other Two Frames

Next, punch out the pieces for the main insert from the two remaining frames.

Build from the Inside Out

If you have ever constructed one of our more traditional inserts for card storage, you know that Golden Rule #2 is to build from the inside out.  This provides a strong framework to connect the outer walls and it’s simply impossible to build from the outside inwards with most of our insert kits.

Building the Main Insert


Lay out the base (with the 6 slots in it) and then the 3 inner rails and the 2 side walls.  These pieces all connect in the same direction.  Note, two of the inner rails have no horizontal slots, but the one that you need to place next to the large open area should have three horizontal slots.

Next, let’s go ahead and place the tray support on the 2 rails with horizontal slots.  First, lay everything out so that you know which side you want to put the tray support.  Then apply glue and place the tray support on each rail (only one is shown here).


Cleanup excess glue as needed.


Next, set the side wall with the support rail aside (pictured above) and glue and place the 3 inner rail on the base.


Notice the orientation of the inner rail with the tray support.


Next, glue the end notches and connect the outer wall to the rails.




Connect the other side wall.


Finally, place the outer wall with the tray support.




Then place the outer wall with rails.


Placing the Tile Supports

To properly support the Suburbia tiles, you will need to insert the tile supports.  These long, thing pieces are inserted through the side with the larger holes and then the smaller end inserts into the other wall. Carefully insert each support, but don’t attempt to push them through the smaller slots on the other side yet.




It can be very challenging to guide the support ends into the smaller holes on the other wall.  A small hobby knife or anything long and thin can be pushed into the smaller hole and pressed against the support end to help guide it into the other wall.

IMG_1888Once placed, you can dab a little glue


on each end to anchor the supports.  Don’t forget to cleanup the excess glue with a finger swipe.


Your insert is complete.


Placing the Insert

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

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.