As usual, I was presented with a last minute Christmas gift creation this year. When a family of 6 is passionate about their Chicago Blackhawks, what do you get them for Christmas? Autographed pictures? Hockey pucks from scoring a goal? Season tickets? I guess that stuff is too clichè, which is why she came to me for ideas. So I came up with this…..a 12”x24” custom personalized plaque made of plywood. Letters and Blackhawk head are separate elements that are somewhat recessed into the plywood. Take a look!
Concept images created in Cinema 4D.
Rustoleum’s “Poppy Red” spray paint on plywood.
The back side of the 3/4″ plywood blank has a 45º bevel.
1/2″ plywood laminated with 1/8″ styrene is the base for the characters.
Characters are cut using a 1/8″ endmill router bit on the CNC.
Using the same 1/8″ router bit, I cut a profile path for the characters that were previously cut.
The profile cut of each character is set to 0.25″.
I cut the outside profile of each character deeper than the rest because I’ve found that it minimizes tearout in the plywood. It also gives a little bit more depth to the cavity behind each character.
At this point, I’ve applied paint mask over the red surface so that I protect it from the black paint that is applied to each character cavity.
Sooooo at some point, I must have dropped something right in the middle of the work piece….it looks worse than it actually is but it’ll still require a little bit of work to fix….
A little bit of wet sanding and more paint and we’ll be good as new!
The stripes at the bottom of the plaque have been painted and we’re just about finished!
The Blackhawk head is a custom sticker that I created just for this project.
Hmmm…..why didn’t I just paint the entire cavity black?…..
I positioned pieces of tape in the character cavities as a mask to keep spray paint out. Because I glued the characters to the sign blank, I wanted to make sure that I had a nice, secure hold onto an unpainted surface.
Initial coat of primer helps fill in minor scratches and pits in the surface…
Primer and glazing putty help make surfaces smooth….
Once the majority of the finishing has been completed, the characters are cut from their backing…
Characters placed on a solid poplar blank and prepped for forming…
Initial styrene pull looks good!
All individual components of the characters are formed individually…
Rough cut of the main sign is cut with CNC….
The styrene parts are test fit into the main sign…
Main sign has been trimmed and ready for testing the G, T and O letters…
Painted “G” is fitted into the main sign…
I originally thought I was going to use a metalized laminate material for the characters, but I couldn’t draw the material deep enough without creating stress marks on the material….see top right of pic…
Main sign with first coat of primer….
Characters are painted black first, then sprayed with a metallic paint….
Test fitting the “O”….
First coat of black on the main sign….time for wet sanding and 2 additional coats of black….
If you’ve viewed any of my previous posts, you know that I’ve got a thing for anything related to Ferrari. When Ferrari introduced the 599 in 2006, I fell in love. However, that love turned to lust four years later when they announced the 599 GTO. Ok, that sounds weird to lust after a car, so we’ll just say that I got excited…..excited because it was the third car in their history to wear the GTO badge. (The first being the 250 GTO in 1962 and the second in 1984, the 288 GTO.) Anyways…..on to the build!
I’m always up for a good challenge, especially when it requires the potential use of new materials, techniques, and tools. This was a project that involved a new and unchartered territory for me: thermoforming. I’ve always been interested in the possibility of making higher quality, duplicate parts quickly and economically, so thermoforming seemed to be the logical way to go. I was introduced to thermoforming while at my day job, working for a packaging company as a designer/prototype developer. I learned from a variety of seasoned veterans in the packaging industry about thermoforming and how it surrounds us every day. Things like yogurt cups, backlit signage, and packaging, all incorporate thermoforming somewhere in the process.
Anyways…..before you can vacuum form, you need a vacuum former. Well, that was kind of an issue, since I didn’t have one laying around. So I did what any right-brained, curious individual would do….I researched the interwebs and built one myself. It’s pretty basic, when you get right down to it. All you really need is an oven box, a vacuum platen, a vacuum pump, and an air tank or two. After that, the perfection of the parts lies within the creation of the molds themselves. I’ll dedicate a whole other post to the construction of the vacuum former itself, but for now, enjoy the pics of the 599 GTO sign!
I was recently asked by Rockler Woodworking to give in-store demonstrations of their CNC Shark machines. Currently, there’s a big push by many manufacturers to get benchtop CNC machines into workshops around the world. CNC machines and 3D printers are all around us today, showcasing their ease of use and endless possibilities. Entry level CNC machines, such as the ones sold at Rockler, are enticing to a lot of potential buyers because of their size and affordability. As a demonstrator, I wanted to come up with a couple simple things that viewers and potential buyers could easily relate to, in regards to an easy first-time project. For a lot of people, they see things everyday that they like and wonder how it’s done. While making these wall signs is fairly simplistic to me, I know that there are others who may perceive them to be complicated. Part of my job as a demonstrator is to demonstrate the ease of use of one of their CNC Shark machine models. Now, while part of the using the CNC is manipulating the CNC itself, the other part relies intensively on the individual. For users who are otherwise computer illiterate, learning to use one of these machines can be a daunting task. The basic software packages provided with these machines is what I focus on primarily. We leave the advanced stuff for after-store hours! Anyways, take a look below at some of the samples created while focusing on basic techniques achieved using the basic software package. Enjoy!
I was feeling a bit festive the other day and came up with this idea, being that it’s soooo close to Christmas. We had some relatives coming for Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought I would make something that might catch their eye as they walked in the door. Afterall, everything is better when illuminated with LEDs, right? I don’t have many pics of the progress on this project because it was done in such a hurry. The frame is 1/2″ MDF trimmed with standard window trim. The reindeer and town silhouette are cut with CNC from 1/4″ luan plywood. They are mounted on 3/4″ dowels using hot glue. The background is 1/2″ plywood laminated with styrene. The 5 LEDs (4 blue, 1 red) are powered by a single 9 volt battery. The entire shadowbox measures 31″long by 11″ high by 4″ deep. Take a look at the gallery below!
Here’s a collection of child stools that I’ve made for friends and family. The stools are made with solid red oak and the painted seat pieces are made from solid poplar. Each stool part has it’s own jig that I created to make multiple pieces at a time. They were all designed on the computer and cut with CNC. Wood blanks with specific measurements are placed into the jig and are then cut on a router table. The addition of painted graphics always shows a nice contrast against the natural beauty of red oak. Take a look at the gallery below. Enjoy!
I recently had the pleasure of working with my dad on a project for the Naperville Bank & Trust in Naperville. The bank purchased the historic 1939 Post Office building to be used as their new downtown location. We were asked to work on a couple projects for them that would incorporate original items found in the post office during its time of operation.
The first project was to dismantle a series of old, brass post office box doors and create a wall display that would be placed inside the wall of the presidents office, while still visible to the rest of the bank. Removing the doors seemed like a simple task at first, but ended up being rather complex because of how they were originally manufactured. Since the post office box keys were nowhere to be found, we had to remove the doors Continue reading “Naperville Bank And Trust Kiosks and Wall Display”→
Another day, another project….and today it’s a wooden coaster set! Since I’m based out of the Chicagoland area, the Chicago Blackhawks are pretty popular around here and I’ve been busy making these out of solid maple. Tomahawk and Blackhawk indian logos are cut using CNC. Coaster holder is made of maple and has two acrylic dowels to hold the coasters. Clear, rubber feet sit on the bottom of the coasters and base to prevent scratching on delicate surfaces.
I’m a big fan of Bosch Power Tools. Over the last several years Ive worked on a a variety of projects with the global tool giant including print, merchandising, and promotions. Bosch Power Tools was having an upcoming media event and needed a new and unique approach to promotional product giveaways. I was presented with the task of putting their logo on bamboo-handle hammers.