It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Instant magic!

Paint always adds a whole bunch of magic in a big hurry. I had decided we would make the round starred frame look like it was cast in solid copper and bronze but well used for many years. To add more texture I first applied some Coastal Enterprises primer. I applied the FSC 88-WB primer on thick with a small brush, purposely leaving the brush stroked in a random pattern. The thick bodied primer doesn't flatten out as it dries and so the brush marks stay in place as it dries. For the final metallic finishes I like to use Modern Masters acrylic paints. They offer a host of brilliant metallic colors and the paint holds up very well outside in the weather. I especially like that we can apply it with a brush by hand. I put the gold on first - two coats. The copper color was next. The piece was extremely bright at this point but I'd tone it down shortly.
The first acrylic glaze I mixed up was a rich caramel color. It went on in a thick solid coat with a small brush and then I quickly wiped off most of it with a small soft towel. I had to work fast to keep a wet edge between areas as the piece was much to large to do in one go. After the first light colored glaze the textures already started to pop a little more already even though it was pretty subtle. Back it went under the fans to dry.
The last coat of glaze was a dark chocolate with a hint of metallic purple. I worked from top to bottom, while jumping quickly from back to front and side to side to minimize dry lines between segments. The work went quickly and the piece instantly came alive as I finished. The dark brown was the same color we had mixed for the plane over a year ago and visually united the plane with the frame through which it 'flew'. Everything suddenly made sense.
I'll let the piece dry in the warm studio overnight, then add the final finishing touch in the morning - 23K gold to the lettering. I'll take some pictures of the process and show just how easy this amazing process is.
Stay tuned...