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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Laminating a structural steel frame inside a sign

The Black Forest Steak House sign is now in full production in the shop. The design was done just before Christmas but didn't get the green light and deposit until a month ago. Then it had to wait for it's turn in the cue. The MultiCam has been busy for a long while.
The sign was routed in seven layers of Precision Board. The two main faces and the top trim were from 2" thick material, while the balance was done using 1.5" thick material.

As soon as they came off the router I mocked them up to see how it looked together and to let me plan an idea of how I was going to put it together and also to measure up for the knight who would be the next phase of the project.

We leaned the signs pieces on my truck and then gave them a good pressure wash to get rid of the fine dust that would prevent a secure gluing. Cody is my new part time helper and he did a wonderful job! We bundled him up with rain gear before we started to keep him dry and warm. Cody washed the in between truck parts when the signs were out of the way.

The first order of business was to weld up a rectangular steel frame that would be laminated inside the sign. I cut out half round shapes by each location for the mounting studs. This gave me room to weld the bars in place in situ after drilling holes from the sides to insert the solid steel rods.

I used plenty of countersunk screws to hold the many layers together until the glue dried.

I'll even up the edges if the signs with the die grinder while it is still on the table, then weld on the bracket so I can temporarily fasten the sign to a temporary stand in order to work on it safely. The knight will be a combination of routing and sculpting.