Doug Haffner’s Fantastic Steampunk Creations

Do you want to add some spice to your dimensional sign design, but don’t have the time to create new 3d models?  Doug Haffner of Haffner’s Fantastic Creations has put together a library of steampunk design elements for 3D signs.  He uses the design elements to fabricate dimensional steampunk creations, including signs, doors and even name plaques like this recent one created using Precision Board HDU.  Doug let us in on how he creates such fantastic looking dimensional Precision Board signs.

Doug Haffner

“I get a lot of requests for plaques with family names on them. This particular couple really liked steampunk, so I used one of the designs from my new collection,” says Haffner. He saved time by having the 3D template ready to go and then was able to customize it using it as the base and swapping out elements to make it look unique.

The name plate was carved using PBLT-30.  Doug used one piece of 30lb material, 24” by 15” by 2” thick. He used a ½ inch ball nose for the roughing pass and an 1/8th inch ball nose for the finishing pass.

For Doug, there are so many considerations when using other substrates that he prefers working with Precision Board HDU.  “The benefit of using Precision Board is that it allows me to focus on the design and the outcome of the piece and not worry about what I’m using as the substrate material.”  He adds, “one of the tremendous things about carving in the higher density HDU is that you are carving a really dense material that will hold the detail and you don’t have to worry about things like change of grain direction and knots.”

Pro Tip: Use a smaller sized bit on smaller sized portions of your project, ones that require more finite detail.  Haffner says, “I will sometimes have so much detail in a model that I’ll use a smaller bit size on a small portion to save time without sacrificing quality.”  He adds, “If I’m carving rivets, I don’t need a small bit.  I can use a 1/4″ ball nose to get it done. If I’m carving a small gear with a lot of tiny gears, I will use the smaller bit to get much finer detail.”

Doug started building these 3D steam punk models as a library for himself, but then realized this was something he had been looking for, but hadn’t found. “I thought that other people would like something like this that they could use,” says Haffner. He had seen Dan Sawatzky selling texture designs and thought steampunk designs would make a good collection.

Doug says that some people think steam punk is just a lot of gears, but it’s bigger than that. “The whole concept is imagining a world where instead of electricity taking over, steam is the primary power source.”  He added, “sometimes my elements are mechanical and sometimes they are Victorian. I try to shoot for a mix of both with brass, wood and copper elements.”

You can purchase Doug’s Steampunk Elements Volume 1 here.

In terms of total project time, it took Doug about five hours from design to finished product.  The 3D modeling time was about an hour. Then about two hours to carve total, including roughing and finishing. Finally, another hour to hour and a half painting.

Haffner’s Fantastic Creations is based in Illinois and fabricates dimensional signs, murals and theme environments.  Give Doug Haffner a call at (330) 309-9537 or visit his Facebook Page if you want one of these amazing signs for yourself!  He ships domestic and international.

You can get free samples, watch training videos or sign up for the monthly blog roundup newsletter from Coastal Enterprises so that you don’t miss blogs like this one!  Call us at 800-845-0745.  We’d love to hear from you.