We build many very big projects in our shop. Building them in the shop makes good sense. Our tools are all handy there. Building in the shop means we can be efficient. The climate is always perfect and our materials are always in stock and handy. Best of all we can work regular hours and be home with our families in the off hours.
But once the projects are done we have to get them to our clients - wherever in the world they might be. Handling large pieces safely means it all has to be planned in from the very start. Our first questions to any client is how big can we build and how do we access the site. How will it be moved onsite. The answers effect the design in a big way!
We engineer lift points and sturdy frames into all of our projects to help us get the project around our shop but also to allow us to put it on a truck, secure it and allow it to be handled and eventually fastened down in it's final location.
In the case of the Viking ships for Dubai everything had to fit into a standard size shipping container.
Today was shipping day for the first Viking ship plus a few other pieces for the targets. Load days are always exciting! About ten days ago we made arrangements with our client to have six containers on trucks delivered to our shop on this day. We also booked a sixty ton crane plus all necessary rigging to do the heavy lifting. The crane we booked has a small twenty by twenty foot footprint for its outboard legs plus the truck base protruding out from this. The space we had arranged the ship pieces was exactly that size plus a space for the trucks to back up to the crane for loading. Features were arranged all around filling every square foot of the driveway in front of the shop. Nothing was left for chance. Our big challenge of the day - load and send off six containers of features - weighing in at a total of 45,000 lbs.
As each truck (spaced out one hour apart) arrived some of our team would unfasten and strip off the canvas top and hoops before backing it up the driveway. I with a helper and the crane would load the large pieces into the container. Then another group of our crew would put the hoops back in place and re-secure the canvas top in place. This was repeated six times in six and a half hours.
The plan was carried out flawlessly and all of the pieces went in without a scratch thanks to the awesome teamwork of our entire crew plus helpful drivers and a very skilled and smooth crane operator.
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