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Synergy Sign & Graphics Blog
  • Smooth-On and our amazing ISA show! ISA 2018 was a really big deal for us. More than ever, our samples were featured in booths from Smooth-On, Multicam, Coastal Enterprises, and SAi EnRoute. We also presented in the EnRoute booth and showed some people how we do what we do.
  • Thats a wrap! The Sign Invitational 2018. Back in 2015 when Dan and I sat on a grassy hill at the EnRoute summit in Denver Colorado, I would have never guessed our crazy ideas would turn into an amazingly fun event. The premise, Invite the best of the best in the sign industry and see who answers the call. The challenge, set some rules and see how creatively people can break them.
  • A busy 2 weeks. After collecting my award for Best Novelty Sign at the EnRoute summit and meeting some super amazing people, it was time to return home and get ready for our first Sign Alchemy class.  People started arriving for the class on Wednesday night and we spent some time hanging out at the shop and preparing for the days to come.  Everyone arrived Thursday morning eager to get started learning how we do what we do.
  • Enroute Summit 2017. A couple of years back, I attended my first EnRoute workshop in Denver Colorado. I had and amazing time with some old friends and made some new friends along the way. When EnRoute announced it was holding a competition leading up to the 2017 Summit in Salt Lake City, I climbed all over it. Up for grabs were cash prizes, advertising opportunities, and free trips to the summit. I’m happy to say that we placed 1st in the Novelty category with our gear set.
  • Rennovations part 2 Today I was able to slip in some programming for the entryway renovations. Here you see the beginnings of the badges that will adorn the centers of the overheads in the previous post. Enroute is an amazing tool for building 3D objects just like this. Typically we brainstorm and idea then make it happen
  • Renovations Part 1. A few months ago, I walked in the shop and stopped in the entryway. I looked around and thought, this is nice, but it’s not really Synergy. After some careful brainstorming, the hammers came out, the paint brushes began to fly, and the Multicam CNC Router began cutting parts. The first step was to texture all of the walls with Coastal Enterprises TSF 45 texture coating. We used 3 gallons putting a nice heavy texture on the walls.
  • New Challenger: Phase Two: Turning 2D to 3D, It’s harder then it sounds I have a concept, I figured out my scale, now to start actually building… ugh… Where to begin? Jim and I sat down with my concept sketch and started figuring out materials we should use. This can somewhat be overwhelming, but we approached it by dividing the piece in half. We started with the base, The bottom pretty much needs to be the strongest and most durable
  • New Challenger: Phase One: Use all the math you learned in school, that you never thought you’d actually ever use. Phase One: Use all the math you learned in school, that you never thought you’d actually ever use. I have a concept! Now what do I do? Well… I guess I can put the engineering degree to use and start drawing my piece to scale. I started with the basic dimensions a 24in x 24in base, as stated in the contest rules with a total height of 72 inches. Easy enough, right
  • New Challenger A few months ago the invites for The Sign Invitational went out, I thought nothing more about it really besides the theme and some ideas came in mind for the shops entry. As some of you may know, Jim and the shop helped organize a contest last year, where a bunch of sign makers challenged each other to create a dimensional display piece. Synergy pla ced 3rd and that was the first month I started at the shop and my first big project.
  • What’s behind door #1? A while back, I started brainstorming what our entry way should look like. It was pretty drab and boring, so it was in need of a major upgrade. The first thing that popped into my head was some neat looking gear themed window sills.
  • When Steampunk meets Polynesian The past few months I have been learning new things pretty much daily and the past few weeks I have been tasked on learning the machines on the vinyl side of the business. As the illustrator/designer at the shop I am often given challenges or tasked to come up with ideas frequently. Jim loves to give me the most curve ball concepts to work with.
  • A Room fit for a Princess Pt.2 Today, we finished up the application on the plaque for my daughters room. Variegated copper and silver were the choices. After looking at the finished product, there is no doubt that it’s the little things that make something special.
  • A room fit for a Princess. Today we continued work on a one of a kind carved sign for my daughter. Today we sculpted the vines and a flower. Tomorrow we’ll add some paint and some cool enchanted bug elements.
  • T-Shirts, Get Your T-Shirts! Listen Up! Synergy has some giveaway shirts that we want to give out to the community in thanks for all the support you have given us all year! If you want one of these awesome Synergy Sign & Graphics tees simply come down to the shop between 9am-5 pm and Aubrey will take your picture with your shirt to post on our social media with our hashtag #specializinginawesome. Good luck folks, we are giving these out as first come first serve basis till the last shirt is gone!
  • Let the Wiener jokes commence… Today, we installed the first of what looks to be many sculpted hot dogs to the luggage racks on the Smart Wiener cars. Everything about this project was fun. Thanks to Chad Scott for trusting us with this awesome project. -Jim
  • The Assignment Since returning home from The Sign Invitational I have been eager to learn. I find myself hovering a bit over everyone’s shoulder at the shop and asking question after question.One day Jim asked if I would like a name plaque, like everyone else. I replied “Yes” very quickly. Being a person with a uncommon name and not getting all those personalized items as a kid (rulers, pencils, keychains, etc.), so you get excited when your name is on things.
  • Making the Gear- 2016 edition Many of you recognize the piece that first garnered us national attention. Synergy’s gear set was featured in magazines and on our supplier sites for almost a year. Our friends at Coastal Enterprises even use it as a backdrop print for their trade show booth. That gear now calls Multicam’s Grand Rapids tech center home. Since we didn’t want the Multicam tech center in Cincinnati, Ohio to feel left out, we decided to build one for their showroom as well
  • The Sign Invitational Retrospective ( Part 3 of 5 ) So what do you do when your the new kid on the block in a room full of the most creative sign makers in the world? Well, you sit and listen to all of them of course… That is what I did at least. I have been watching and hearing about the contestants for months, so of course, I was going to pick their brains! Only I really didn’t have to ask or pry they openly started giving tons of advice, tips and tricks right out of the gate. That’s what makes this industry great.
  • Great materials and Great companies. Since day one here at the shop, we have strived to build relationships in the sign industry. And I don’t mean that typical vendor – customer relationship either. We have sought out the best companies to work with and built a level of trust with them that gives us the most flexibility as a company while helping them build their brands, which in turn builds ours.
  • The Sign Invitational Retrospective ( Part 2 of 5 ) Aubrey Gealsha, our newest team member and Illustrator extraordinaire, took the time yesterday to write about her first ISA visit and getting exposed to the sign industry in such a big way at ISA 2016. I leave you with the words straight from her mouth. ( She’s pictured on the left… ) The past two months here at Synergy have been a non stop crazy adventure. We have been working long hours not only as contestants but as event organizers as well
  • The Sign Invitational Retrospective ( Part 1 of 5 ) If you would have told me in September 2015 that this crazy idea Dan Sawatzky and myself hashed out in Denver would turn into this amazing event, I would not have believed you. This past week, the Synergy crew spent the week in Orlando setting up, organizing, and tearing down what was one of the most exciting things we have ever been involved in. Over the next few days, Aubrey Gealsha ( recent hire and illustrator extraordinaire ) and myself will be writing a series of articles here on the blog showcasing what went down in Orlando at The Sign Invitational 2016. For Now, I leave you with the results of the competition and pics of those entries
  • The Sign Invitational. Update So, here it is. Our concept rendering for our entry into The Sign Invitational We are extremely excited to get started on the fabrication. 5 weeks out. I hope we can get it all done. -Jim
  • A New Angle. Here are some shots of our latest install. We would like to thank Amy for trusting us with creating their masterpiece. Metallic latex paints were used on all surfaces of this one. The sign was fabricated using our Multicam CNC router to carve 30lb density Precision Board Plus.
  • Up and Running! In December, we installed our new Multicam Vpro Plasma cutter. We can now cut up to 1-1/2″ steel in sheet sizes as large as 5′ x 10′. The amazing thing is we had almost no new software to learn and were up and running rather quickly. Multicam has provided us with an amazing piece of machinery as always. Look for some amazing things coming down the pipe here soon.
  • The Sign Invitational A while back, a brainstorming session involving Dan & Peter Sawatzky, Jeff Hartman, and Myself, yielded one of the better ideas I have heard in a long time. The Sign Invitational was born. The contest is simple. Set up some build rules that govern theme and size, then invite 20 amazing sign makers to participate in the challenge. The registration deadline passed on October 31st and I’m proud to say we have 14 amazing sign makers competing.
  • 2 Branches down. 3 to go. This week, we will have finished the 3rd branch of the Dover Phila Credit Union Sign project. We were contracted to update all of the signage at their 5 branches. Saturday we will finish our 3rd branch and wrap the final two up in the next two weeks. It has been a huge and challenging project, but also very satisfying. We finally had a chance to make more acrylic push through letters on this one
  • Never stop learning. Again. I consider myself somewhat of a power user when it comes to using our cnc machining software, Enroute Pro 5.1. So why in the heck and I spending 3 days training on the software in Denver, Colorado?. Simple.
  • At The Movies. A while back, I remembered seeing a Han Solo in carbonite sculpture that caught my eye. It was made by a well known sign shop on the east coast and all I could think to myself was ” I could do that!”. Well, months went by, and I still never had the time to mess around with it.
  • Never Stop Learning! This past week was a great week here at Synergy. I travelled to East Texas, PA to visit Smooth-On with my friends Derek & Sarah. We spent two days learning casting and mold making techniques with their products. Some of these new skills will undoubtedly end up in our signs. It is amazing to see how to accomplish the same thing from many different angles
  • Golf Fore Autism This past weekend, I had a lady tell me that we do great work and she really appreciates what we do for the community. I proceeded to tell her we were just doing our part like any business should when they have been blessed as much as we have. She went on to say that we should tell more people and promote ourselves more when we give back. I though to myself for a minute and told her we were just paying it forward and really didn’t need all the recognition
  • Head back to Las Vegas Every year right around this time, the International Sign Show rolls around. This year it is in Las Vegas and I’m on my way there as we speak. Usually, I’m looking for new equipment and demonstrations, but this year is a little different. We’ll be hanging out in the Coastal Enterprises booth answering questions about our signs that have been getting a lot of attention. We also have meetings scheduled with quite a few of our vendors including Laird Plastics, Multicam, and Onsrud.
  • Answering the call. Here at the shop, we receive requests for sponsorships and donations more often than we can keep track of. Most of the time, we end up donating something, or buying an ad in a program and forgetting what it was even about. From time to time, there is a request that really pulls at my heartstrings and I decide to do everything I can to help people out.
  • The New Multicam CNC Router is installed! Towards the end of 2014, it had become abundantly clear to us that we had outgrown our Multicam 1000 series router. While it was a great machine that worked well for us for the last 6 years, we were asking a little too much of it with the demands of our 3D carvings. Now, don’t get me wrong, it worked flawlessly on the Teal project, Kc’s, and the FSRC sign, but we were looking for a little more speed and the ability to run 40hr CNC programs if we needed. After talking to Robert and Denis at Multicam Great Lakes, we decided to order a new machine. The machine arrived in late December and we spent the last 3 weeks running electrical, air, and dust collection lines
  • Awesome new signage for Park Street Pizza! Park Street Pizza is a GO! Rocky has done some amazing work on his building, so it’s time to finish it all off with some cool new signage. Over the next 4-5 weeks, you’ll see various new signs popping up. We’ll be making a one of a kind entry sign, a new logo sign for the end of the building, and we’ll be following that up with a gorgeous new road sign. For this project we’ll be utilizing tons of cool products. Modern Masters paints , Precision Board , real cedar posts and planking, and tons of carving on our Multicam 3000 series Router.
  • The Victorian Suite. Installed The owners of the Victorian Suite sent us final install pics over the weekend. We would like to share them with you. This project was an example of what we can do on a tight budget. The client elected to install the project himself so that could save on install costs
  • Factory Street Pub and Grill. Part 1 Here it is. Factory Street Pub and Grill. This will be the first post in a series on how we fabricate signs here at Synergy. We’ll be walking you through the shop designs, welding, carving, lighting, painting, and install on this project. We took this design in front of a historical district review panel yesterday and everyone was floored
  • Ohio Armament and the Victorian Suite Today we delivered this little beauty. On this project we had a chance to weld, carve, paint, glaze, and fabricate wood posts. It’s fun to look back and see how far we have come in both the machinery dept. and in our overall capabilities
  • Special Thanks to all of our new Partners and Sponsors. We signed on with another Partner today. Modern Masters has been gracious enough to supply us all of the paints for our upcoming gear projects. We will be building 2 gears for Multicam and 1 gear for Coastal Enterprises . All three gears will be getting painted with Modern Masters Metallics and reactive paints. Modern Masters will also be featuring us in their ad materials throughout the coming year, so keep an eye out for us! We would like to send out a formal thanks to Robert and Denis @ Multicam, Greg @ Modern Masters, and Kellie @ Coastal Enterprises for acknowledging our work and helping us raise the bar in the sign industry
  • KC’s Car Care – Redux – ( and some big news ) From time to time, we may miss the mark a little. In this case, we had an idea that the car and bike should be the same scale. Once the bike was applied, the customer didn’t like the size of it.
  • T-Splines Tip – Panel Line Breaks I figured I would do a quick little step by step on making panel line breaks with T-Splines.  The first thing is to make sure that you have an isocurve, or isocurve loop that follows the panel line break that you want.  This sometimes can be tricky – in the case of this windshield, I did the topology layout with this in mind.  Here’s the loop of isocurves that I want to form the break on – it’s the junction between the main body and the front windshield: Now just run tsBevel, the options I use for something like this are: Segments = 5, Positioning = Distance, Keep on Face = Yes, Retopo Snap = No.  You’ll need to play around a bit with the bevel distance, in this case I found that 0.09 worked nicely, but you’ll have to adjust it for each model, depending on size.  Here’s what you get: Now select the middle face loop , and set your drag mode to UVN: Now just push that face loop inwards using the normal (blue) arrow.  I like to do it numerically, so that I can make them consistent.  I used a value of -0.05 here, but again you’ll have to play around a bit for each application. Now just run tsMakeUniform.  You should do this after every change in topology.  In smooth mode you get this: It’s quick, it’s easy and it looks good.  Can’t beat that!      
  • It’s Raining Software! Well after a long blog hiatus, I’m back and happy to report there are some exciting things happening in the land of CAD.  In the past few weeks there has been some very exciting news on the software front. First, out of left field, Autodesk suddenly announced it was going to resume development of T-Splines for Rhino!  The first news of this came from the T-Splines message board, where none other than Autodesk CEO Carl Bass chimed in and informed the community of the decision.  That pretty much made my jaw drop to the floor.  This means that there will be future releases of T-Splines for Rhino, with new tools and functionality.  Really, I truly did not see that coming.  Also, in the past few days they put out a release candidate for Rhino V5.  You can download that here.   There are some really nice fixes and upgrades in that release – most notably for symmetry and exact insertion of geometry.
  • T-Splines Webinar: Transitioning from NURBS to T-Splines Well let’s get some of the dust off this blog, it’s been far too long.  I’ve been busy with a variety of projects and distractions, unfortunately very little of which can be shared here.  I did however do a nice one hour webinar hosted by Autodesk on the very basics of T-Splines.  Especially for those who are coming from a NURBS surface modeling background (as I did), T-Splines can be a fairly daunting piece of software to wrap your head around.  The way you work in T-Splines is often very different from your standard workflow where you start with your big macro shapes, and then trim them and blend them together.  So, with that in mind, we created what will be the first in a series of webinars aimed at helping people make the conceptual leap.  At the end of the webinar there is a preview of T-Splines running on an Autodesk platform, which is very exciting to see, since there has not been a ton of information forthcoming about how T-Splines will be integrated into Autodesk products. The folks at Autodesk took the “Egg Man” demo I did at the end of the presentation and put it to some music, which I thought was really cool.  So, dim the lights, crank the speakers, and enjoy!
  • 48″ Convair 240 – Wing Lofting   Pecking away at the Convair 240 radio control model.  This is being done for a contest on the Ezone forums , and so I really need to get moving on this thing to get it in the air by June 30th contest end date.  The wings are getting there – mostly lofted, just have to add the rear spars and ailerons.  Having designed more than my fair share of RC planes in 2D using AutoCAD, boy, is this a better way to work!  The wings are going to be my favorite style – 1/32″ balsa d-tube leading edges with shear webs.  Super strong, super light, and very “stick and tissue.”  I’m going to try to get the tailfeathers and fuselage formers knocked out this weekend.  Haven’t quite decided if I want to do the nacelles out of balsa or vac formed styrene, but I’ll have to make a call on that pretty soon.
  • Using Rare Earth Magnets to Join Composite Structures You know what I think is a little silly?  Using clecoes to join composite structures.  I mean, sure, they work, but unlike when you are working with sheet metal, at the end of it you have a bunch of useless holes that have to get filled in.  Also, multiple insertions/removals of the cleco tends to open up the hole, reducing the grip of the cleco.  So I started thinking about a better way of doing it, and I think I’ve come up with a workable solution – rare earth magnets.  I’ve used them on radio controlled aircraft in the past, and have always been amazed by their small size and large holding power.  So, I bought some of these 5/16″X3/16″ N42 disc magnets from K&J Magnetics .  On the inside of joggle for the Giles 200 gear leg fairings I put down some electrical tape.  I then placed a disc magnet every 1.5″ along the length of the joggle. The fairing half is on a magnetic building board that I use for building balsa model airplanes, this was very handy because it kept all the magnets in place while I laid them out.  Tucker and Walnut, faithful four legged shop assistants supervise from below: Okay, really, they’re just watching for that cat that walks by the window from time to time.  Anyhow, moving on – I then broke out the hot glue gun, and just surrounded each magnet with a little glue. All we’re going for here is keeping them from falling off the tape once we slide this thing off the table.  Then, I simply clamped the two halves together at the edges.  After that, I just took one magnet at a time, placed it relatively close to where I thoughts a magnet was.  Once I felt it pull, I just let go, and the magnet snapped into place. Well that was easy!  The “hole layout” was less time consuming than if I was using drills/clecos, and more tolerant of edge distance.  Once I bond these together and the resin has cured I’ll simply slide the exterior magnets off one by one, and then pull off the piece of electrical tape that the interior magnets are glued to.  Easy!  Obviously, this will only work in non-blind applications, but it sure seems like a nice method to me.  If your alignment is super critical, I would still recommend using a few holes/clecoes just to make indexing them together fool proof
  • The Method Part II – Demolding the Parts Following up on my previous post on my method of making high quality, re-usable tooling with CNC machined foam and Stretchelon bagging film , here’s how things tend to go on the demold side.  First, turn off the pumps, and then remove all the secondary fabrics/films that are bagging the part: I’ve left the peel ply on here, because the parts are still pretty darn soft, but everything else has gone into the trash.  Now, simply get some air underneath the layer of Stretchelon covering the mold, and then pull the parts up, along with the film: Now, just simply peel the Stretchelon off the parts – if you’ve used mold release, it should come off very easily more or less in one piece: Presto!  And the molds are totally unharmed – same as they were when we started.  Here’s a closeup of the surface texture of the finished part: Yes, a bit of texture, but like I said before, a few swipes with some 80 grit to prepare for primer and the texture just vanishes.  Or, if you really want a smoother texture, just get more dense tooling foam.
  • Creating High Quality, Reusable Molds with CNC Machined Foam and Stretchelon Bagging Film – aka “The Method” This post is really the culmination of a few years of research, research that I’ve decided to set loose into the world.  We call this “The Method,” or sometimes “The Stretchelon Trick” and it’s my primary method of creating tooling for composite parts these days.  As  an example, I’m using the Giles 200 gear leg fairings that I describe in depth in this post here.    You might read that post and think “well that’s all well and good, but what the heck are you going to make those molds out of that’s cost effective?”  The answer is medium density polyurethane tooling foam, normally 15 lb. density foam.  For these gear legs, the depth of the mold is about 1.5″, so I used 2″ thick foam.  A 2″X48″X96″ block of tooling foam is about $500, and this particular mold is about 23″X40″, so the material cost is a fairly small fraction of that.  Here’s the machined foam of the gear leg fairings, cut yesterday: Okay, granted, it’s a bit hard with the light here to really see what’s going on, but if you look at the post I link to above, you’ll see this is just the CNC machined version of the gear leg tooling.  Since one of these molds is two part, the next step is to join the two parts together: We usually join them together with some fast setting epoxy and then drive some dowels into them for good measure.  Now at this point you’re probably thinking “well that’s nice and all, but now you’ve gotta spray some sort of primer/sealer onto that thing, and hand finish it.”  But, you would be wrong.  You see, I hate sanding.  Actually, that’s not really true, I like doing body work, but I hate sanding when there’s no point to it.  And now let me show you why there’s no point to it: This, my friends, is the heart of “The Method.”  The green stuff over the mold is an elastic vacuum bagging material called Stretchelon .  Stretchelon is a high elongation vacuum bagging film.  I hate dealing with bagging tape, and so I’ve routered channels into my work table here, coated them with shelf paper and then used hardware store screen door spline to create the seal.  This method works quite well, but you can just as easily make a tube out of the Stretchelon and put the mold in the tube.  I pull my vacuum for the mold from the bottom of the table.  The mold is sitting on a piece of breather so that the air gets evacuated from all around the mold.  The slight porosity of the foam does wonders to allow the air to travel to the edge of the foam.  Closeup, it’s looks like this: The Stretchelon pulls down right onto the foam, sealing it for use.  Pretty cool huh?  Yes, there is a bit of a texture to the mold.  If you want a smoother mold, just buy higher density foam.  But what I’ve found is that since the first thing I do when I go to prime a part is to scuff it up, that texture simply vanishes with a few strokes of a sanding block.   The final thing to do is put some mold release on it – the film is polyurethane and so epoxy will stick to it.  I’ve used Frekote in the past, but I like to use another Airtech product called Safelease 20L .   It can be dispensed from one of those hand squeeze spray bottles you get at the hardware store, so I like the fact I’m not using a bunch of aerosol cans.  And it works, so that’s nice.  Anyhow, once you spray your mold down with some release and then wipe off the excess, this mold is pretty much like any other – yes, it’s slightly more ding prone than standard hard tooling.  If you want to make lots of parts (let’s say, more than 10) then I would simply go with a more dense foam, say 25 lbs.  If you get any dings, you can simply patch them with spackle.  When I first starting doing this, I was really concerned about mold wear, but frankly it just hasn’t been a real problem.  Some of my molds have been used 10-12 times now, and for the most part they look just like they did the first time.  So now, it’s just a matter of laying up the laminate, in this case 3 layers of 5.7 oz carbon: And then, you vacuum bag another layer of Stretchelon (or regular bagging film) over on top of the part: Your standard peel ply/perf/breather fabrics are on top of the carbon.  The vacuum for the top bag comes from a standard bag tap.   So we’ve got two separate pumps running here – one for the mold, and one for the part.  They’re both around 25-26″ of mercury.  You’ll get a few more inches of mercury with a bag tube made with bagging tape, but the cost and labor savings of this whole screen spline method are nice
  • VariEze N388DT – Fuselage Refinishing I’m back from vacation!  Had a very nice time, but I’m happy to be back in the States, and working away on some cool projects.  James has been working on scraping all the old paint and fill off of the VariEze.  The paint is Imron, which has been holding up quite nicely, but the fill used by the builder was Featherfill, which in some spots is practically exploding off the airframe.  It’s only further cementing my opinion that polyester based products have no place whatsoever on aircraft.  It’s not a matter of if they break down, only when.  Here’s some pics: Do you know what tomorrow is?  It’s the one year anniversary of the launch of this blog!  And I’m cooking up a very special post to celebrate the occasion!  Stay tuned…..
  • Gone Trekking – On Vacation April 1 to April 19 Things are going to get a little musty and dusty around here for a few weeks, because tomorrow morning I’m on a plane heading for Nepal, for three weeks of much needed vacation.  I’ll have very limited access to email, and no phone/voicemail access at all.  So, if you need anything, please contact James Jorgensen at 707-292-6756 or via email – james@schoolstreetdesign.com.  I’ll try my best not to get eaten by a snow yeti…. -Sky
  • Fun with MAXshot/EXAscan – Digitizing “The Racer” Fuselage Last week we were up in Reno, doing among other things, a digitization of a plane that is simply called “The Racer.”  The Racer is an as of yet unfinished Unlimited Reno racer.  It’s pretty much the smallest plane you can build around a Wright R-3350 , which is still a pretty big plane.  The Racer is the brain child of Dave Cornell, the current crew chief of Rare Bear.  It’s been a 23 year, on again, off again labor of love, and now it most definitely seems to be on again.  We’ll be doing a whole range of projects on The Racer, starting with a new canopy plug.  The current canopy doesn’t come down far enough, and so a new plug needs to be made.  Rather than do it by hand, we’re going to take the scanned data, create a perfected T-Spline surface and then CNC machine a new plug.  After that we’ll be re-lofting the aft bottom fuselage, and making all new form blocks.  Then maybe some cowling ducts.  And some canopy skirts and frame.   And drag strut braces.  You get the idea – there’s a whole host of projects we’ll be working on, which is great, cause this thing is really, truly cool. The fuselage digitizing was our first real chance to use the new MAXshot photogrammetry setup.  I’m happy to report that the MAXshot worked flawlessly.  The through process is very much the same to using the EXAscan, but covers a much larger area more quickly, and more accurately.  Here’s some pics from the scanning process: Here’s a screen shot of the capture session for the right side of the fuselage: For the straight lofted panels we just scanned the perimeter – no need to scan every square inch when you can get all the data you need from the edges.  James will be up in Reno again this coming week to scan the wings.  We’re really excited to be working on such a cool project!
  • T-Splines Tip – Panel Line Breaks I figured I would do a quick little step by step on making panel line breaks with T-Splines.  The first thing is to make sure that you have an isocurve, or isocurve loop that follows the panel line break that you want.  This sometimes can be tricky – in the case of this windshield, I did the topology layout with this in mind.  Here’s the loop of isocurves that I want to form the break on – it’s the junction between the main body and the front windshield: Now just run tsBevel, the options I use for something like this are: Segments = 5, Positioning = Distance, Keep on Face = Yes, Retopo Snap = No.  You’ll need to play around a bit with the bevel distance, in this case I found that 0.09 worked nicely, but you’ll have to adjust it for each model, depending on size.  Here’s what you get: Now select the middle face loop , and set your drag mode to UVN: Now just push that face loop inwards using the normal (blue) arrow.  I like to do it numerically, so that I can make them consistent.  I used a value of -0.05 here, but again you’ll have to play around a bit for each application. Now just run tsMakeUniform.  You should do this after every change in topology.  In smooth mode you get this: It’s quick, it’s easy and it looks good.  Can’t beat that!