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

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Welded steel armatures

One of the things we will cover in our Sculpting Magic Workshop which is to be held this fall is how we weld up our armatures for our sculptures. This is the stage we are at on the tree entrances for the Fox & Hounds Pub. The heavy steel structure for the hostess station was done in my shop on the bench. It was fashioned out of square tubing as it is easy and quick to cut and fit. We had decided to mount it to the wall instead of off the floor as I had drawn it. We will be fashioning a place to hold the menus. We'll still keep the bird's nest in place, but the fox in the knothole will move to one of the entrance trees. I bolted the frame to the wall onto some backing the carpenters had put in place for us. Then I hand shaped and welded the 1/4" mild steel pencil rod to form the skeleton of the tree.

The trees on each side of the restaurant entrance were formed the same way but there was no heavy welded steel square tubing framework. Instead I screwed in some heavy duty lag bolts as anchor points and welded the pencil rod frame to them. The exception was the branch that will hold up the restaurant sign. It had a heavy duty steel plate that was anchored to the 6" x 6" wood posts. The branch is strong enough to handle someone doing a chin up if they get the urge. On the bottom I formed and welded some rocks and a twisted root structure. It looks a lot like a wire frame on a computer screen, difficult to photograph.

On the restaurant side of the wall space will be at a premium so I kept the depth of the trees as as thin as possible.

Now we are ready to start attaching the lath. Once that is done the armature will be ready for the sculpting process.