Making a Miniature Precision Board Boat for ISA 2020

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to host guest blogs written by some of the signage industry’s biggest movers and shakers, posted to the Precision Board Blog.  This guest blog is written by Mike Goulet, The Sign Specialist, based in El Mirage, California.  He describes how he CNC routed an incredibly detailed 3″ long model of a boat using Precision Board HDU as part of his ISA Sign Expo 2020 entry (now cancelled).

In Mike’s own words…

Ideas for projects come and go throughout the year.  Most of them fall away, but sometimes an idea sticks.  This was the case with multiple projects I have been working on this year for the ISA 2020 Expo. I had an idea for a boat as one of the detail pieces on my entry and was debating the best way to fabricate it.

I chose PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU because of its exceptional ability to hold fine details and how robust the material is. I set off using Vectric Aspire to design the boat in 3D, then made it a 2-sided machining operation.

Once our Laguna Tools Smartshop M2 was set up with the material and our new #46582 tapered ball nose from, we started the program with speeds and feeds settings of 400 IPM at 18,000 RPM. Machining the boat took a total of 3 minutes but the details were all immaculate, from the keel on the bottom to the lip all the way around the top of the boat. It was amazing to see the level of detail we could achieve with such a small model.

Next was the process of making our beautiful model look good enough to float as a real boat that had been shrunk down to a tiny size.

I called in a specialist with miniature designs. My grandfather, Rollan Wittkopf. He has made so many small projects over the years that range in size. His work is unparalleled, and I could not have anticipated any greater results.

The stand that holds the boat is a ½” thick piece of PBLT-30 that was hand carved and painted to look like waves. All of the pieces were primed with FSC-88 WB Primer and hand carved to add detail such as wood grain and water effects.

FSC-88 WB allows me to add the details I want in the final project and also doubles as a primer for my ISA project. After I had primed the boat, I handed it over to Rollan and let him take off with the final colors. He started with carving the boat and the base. The boat was painted using 1Shot paint with a base of brown, with darker brown used for the deeper carved areas for the grain effect. The same effect was replicated throughout the rest of the project utilizing different colors.


We love the way this project turned out and look forward to its debut in the ISA 2020 Expo when this calms down.


The Sign Specialist is a small company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional signs and augmented reality sign projects. They tackle projects of any size. Their work has been published in Signs of the Times Magazine.

Michael Goulet describes himself as a visionary with the intention of being a trendsetter in the dimensional sign industry. His art career started in 2015 and although new to the industry, aims to bring vision, tenacity, and more artists to the field. Michael is passionate about creating new techniques that will help to bring the world of dimensional signs into the next century of innovation and to create more visibility for such a unique world of signs. Oh and to eliminate boring channel letter boxes all together.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane sign material that is particularly effective for making professional-looking indoor and outdoor dimensional signs.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.