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, March 12, 2016

Instant age

The rules of the Sign Challenge competition require that our pieces be shipped in a two foot by two foot box and then be pulled out and displayed on top. Rather than drape the box I decided to make it a part of the display. To maximize the size of the centre piece it meant the walls of the box needed to be as thin as possible. Steel construction was the obvious answer and with our MultiCam CNC plasma  handy the job was easy.

The files for the box were designed using EnRoute. The stars were drawn using the star creator. Nothing could be easier. I decided to use quarter sections of pipe for the corners with the radius to the inside.  The cutting of the steel plate took less than a half an hour. To weld all of the pieces together and grind it all smooth took about sixteen hours. It looked great already but the magic was yet to come.

Once the box was finished I carefully brushed on four coats of bright yellow paint. I let it cure and then broke out my orbital sander and proceeded to destroy the fancy paint and expose bare metal. I scratched things up randomly and even banged it around with my hammer. I wanted to add the look of age and hard use to match the tank displayed above it. I then judiciously applied the same 'swamp' glaze to create some appropriate grunge.As I added the antique look I imagined the kinds of knocks it might get in daily use.