Chicago Blackhawk Backlit LED Sign

Those who know me best claim that my side projects always revolve around cars. My latest certainly does not! Since the Chicago Blackhawks are a vey well-liked hockey team here in the Chicago area, it was only fitting that I show some pride for my home team….even though I’ll always stay true to my beloved team, Ferrari. What we’ve got here is a 24″ x 24″ x 2.25″ backlit wall sign featuring the infamous Chicago Blackhawks logo. A grand total of 201 cool white LEDs illuminate this sign using a single 12V power supply and it weights just shy of 20 lbs. The main shell of the sign and the removable back panel are both made of ½” plywood. Black paint is regular spray paint from Home Depot and the front face is gloss black RPET. The actual Blackhawk colored graphic is printed on backlight film and protected with a clear PVC over lam. This one is the first of three that I’m making, so hopefully they get a little bit easier by the third one! HA! Check out the progress pics below as well as a couple finals of the project. Enjoy!

 

 

Formula One Track Wall Art

This was a project that I did recently for myself. I get quite a few car magazines and had seen something recently that caught my eye…..wall displays inspired by the many race track configurations in the world, including Formula One, Nascar, and Indy. So naturally, I thought the Formula One series was pretty cool and decided to make one myself. I chose the Formula One race track in Austin Texas….The Circuit of the Americas.

It all started with two sheets of ½” baltic birch plywood glued together. The glued pieces were then laminated with a sheet of painted styrene. Once complete, the piece was adhered to the CNC table using painters tape. (I could have used double-sided tape) The cutting process only required 3 programs…one for the outside profile, one for the inside profile, and finally a bevel on the top edge to finish off the sides. Cutting time took approximately 18 minutes total. I considered using screw brackets to mount the piece to the wall, but I wanted some depth so I decided to use metal stand-offs, therefore allowing the race track to sit 1-½” off the wall. I used a 1″ extension rod for ceiling fans and cut pieces slightly oversized. I then chucked them into a lathe and machined the ends to their final length. I cut keyhole slots in the back of the display, figured out where to screw holes into the wall, and attached the stand-offs. It looked ok, but I felt it was missing something so I decided to add the “Circuit of the America’s” logo. I could have cut the logo into the face of the display, but it would have been tiny and I didn’t want to destroy the nice, continuous smooth surface of the race track. I came up with a plan to incorporate a piece of acrylic into the display and cut the logo out of vinyl and adhere to the acrylic panel. When I was finished with Austin, I decided to make the infamous Monaco race track! Check out the pics below for a couple progress shots as well as the final displays. Enjoy!

 

 

LED Displays and Napkin Holders

I was recently approached by Werner Co to build some custom tabletop and napkin holder displays for a PR event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. They were hosting a private party after the STAFDA show and needed some brand awareness at the party. Since the environment would be rather dark, it was decided that we would illuminate the displays. However, we couldn’t build anything that needed to be plugged into an outlet, so it would have to be powered by battery. The event would last approximately 4-6 hours, so the batteries would have to last the duration of the event. Initially, I contemplated creating each tabletop display base out of wood, but after crunching some numbers, I decided it was best to cast them using resin. That would require building a flawless form for the base so that each base would be identical.All the acrylic panels would have company branding etched into them, so I needed to decide whether they would be cut with CNC or etched using sandblast techniques. I opted for sandblast since I was on a tight deadline.

CNC Photos

I’ve been playing with a new technique that I accidentally stumbled on while playing with Adobe Photoshop a couple weeks ago. I was actually working on some graphics for my “real” job one afternoon and needed to reproduce somewhat of a “halftone” pattern. After a while, my mind started to wander and I started thinking about how I could use this very distinct graphic style in some of my other projects. It wasn’t long before I was toying around with the idea of carving photos using this technique with CNC. A lot of the editing is done in Photoshop and then imported into my CNC software. Take a look at my first couple attempts at using this new technique. I’m still trying to perfect the technique, as the same settings in Photoshop are NOT used for each image.The average cutting time for a 14″x14″ graphic is approximately 4-5 hours of cutting time.The images are best viewed from a distance.

The Shadowbox Project

This is a project that I am currently in the process of designing. I was asked to design a custom display that would showcase a pin and keychain collection. The client currently has an Arc Display, shown in this gallery, and wanted the pin/keychain display to compliment the Arc Display. The shadowbox display that currently houses the collection was purchased from a craft store. Check out the gallery below for the original shadowbox, concept drawings, and renderings for this project.

Athletic Apparel Graphics

A freelance designer doesn’t always get the same type of work. That’s part of the fun and excitement of being a freelance designer! Over the past 7 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with an athletic apparel manufacturer designing apparel for many different sports teams, primarily rugby. A lot of the work revolves around creating designs, whether complicated or simple, for rugby teams around the country as well as different continents! Some days I’ll be asked to create new team logos from scratch and some days I’ll be asked to digitize a logo from a very crude hand sketch. Other days I’ll be asked to put together team kits featuring items like jerseys, shorts, track suits, socks, polos and other branded items. Sometimes I even develop graphics for game balls, tents, and hats. The work is primarily created using Adobe Illustrator and some Photoshop. Take a look at some past examples!

Home Center Merchandisers & Displays

At the time of this project, Dremel Power Tools, a division of Bosch Power Tools, was achieving great success with the launch of their newest tool, the Multi-Max. This tool performed such operations as cutting, sanding, and scraping by using oscillation, a very fast vibration. It didn’t have spinning or reciprocating movements, so it was impressive to most people. This type of tool was currently on the market and produced by another manufacturer, but its starting price of $300 made it an unreasonable purchase to the average consumer. So Dremel came out with this tool for $99. However, the price tag alone was not going to sell the tool. This was the kind of tool that needed to get into the hands of the consumer, in order for it to sell. I was asked to develop several designs of in-store demonstration merchandisers to be used at The Home Depot. The merchandisers would not only serve as a demo station, but they would also stock the tools and accessories. These merchandisers were going to be used as examples for the sales staff to build right there in the store, so the materials included needed to be available in the store.

Apple Retail Store Cabinet

Back in 2008, an Apple retail store was looking to organize some items used by their creative team in the store. These items included digital keyboards, microphones, webcams, iPods, etc. (The creative team is responsible for teaching customers how to use Apple’s creative software; GarageBand, Final Cut, etc.; basically any applications dealing with music and video.)  I wasn’t given a direction other than the cabinet “needed to have big drawers and it had to be white.” I had a timeline of about 4 days to complete the cabinet.

Dremel NASC Projects

Every year, Dremel holds a North American Sales Conference near their headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Sales representatives from all over the country fly in for a week to review new products. They also participate in hands-on building exercises where they get to use current products as well as products of the future. I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to not only develop the building projects for the exercise, but also build sample projects to be used as inspiration. In all of the projects, I built 3D models of my ideas before construction. I then submitted the 3D renderings for final approval. The images are then used by Dremel’s marketing team and sent out via email to all the sales representatives as a means to generate excitement for the project in the weeks prior to the conference. The goal of the projects is to use a variety of Dremel tools and accessories to build the project. The sales representatives are usually put into teams of 15-20 people and have an elaborate selection of materials that each team can select from in which to build the project. The following gallery includes images of the final project as well as computer renderings that I created. Enjoy!

 

Auto Art & Design Projects

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had a fascination for cars, particularly the high-end italian type! I’m an avid Formula One racing fan and die cast car collector. I started collecting in college and it wasn’t long before I had amassed quite the collection for myself. I was running out of room to display them and I came up with the idea to build a special display case to showcase the cars. It wasn’t long before other collectors, enthusiasts, and owners started contacting me about creating displays for their collections. However, it didn’t stop there. Soon I was being asked to create replica items and single cars displays, and other miscellaneous items. Building these custom items is nice change of pace for me after spending most of my time in front of the computer. Enjoy!