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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fishing derby for all

Our little mechanical fish sign 'competition' is getting lots of interest. And I'm geting lots of emails and messages asking if others can play and if so what the rules are. The answer is YES!
It all started as a dare of sorts. Jamie Oxenham built a nice little sign for his own studio. Doug Haffner and I were sitting with Jamie at the workshop in Indiana and we commented how we liked his fish. Jokingly we also said we thought he could do better and that we knew we certainly could. The challenge was instantly on.
Every challenge needs a few 'rules' of course. Our signs needed to include the words 'The institute for study of mechanical marine life' and also a dimensional mechanical fish of some sort. Ideas needed to be original. A dealine was also set for Labor Day - September 2, 2013.
Since then there has been a flurry of exchanged emails, with plenty of friendly banter  and rib poking - all in good fun of course. The 'competition' is FIERCE. Who will win, how will things be judged, does any of this matter? The whole idea is to build a fun, creative piece and to push our own personal limits. The end result for all who participate is to have a cool display piece in our own studio/showroom at the end of it all. Doug, Jamie and I will be posting step by steps on our blogs with the purpose of sharing with others the various techniques we use.
I've posted a number of journal entries here and also on the other blogs I write which, as expected has gotten quite the response. Since the the start where the three of us sat down in Indiana and began this thing others have also joined the fishing expedition. Mechanical fish are now being designed and built by nine people I know of across Canada and the USA, and I'm sure a bunch more I don't. That's all good.
What is happening is exactly what I have long wished for. People are creating some pretty cool artworks and having fun and learning in the process. It sure beats working! I sincerely hope you and many many more join in.
There are going to be some very wonderful mechanical fish created from what I've seen so far. Yesterday, I recieved an email from Wray Basset today from Pennsylvania. His fish will be a crab. (well withing the 'rules' I would think) He sent a bunch of pictures of progress to date and it's looking great!
So if you are up for a little fun and want to create a mechanical fish of your own - well go ahead. Bring it on - just bring your 'A' game.  :)