A box with a whole lot of ‘space’

Today I fired up EnRoute to build the files for the sides of the box. Building files for the Plasma cutter is so much simpler than the CNC router. I only have to think in two dimensions. I imported the sketch I had drawn of the four sides and then used the vector drawing tools to accurately recreate the files. Because all of the lines were the same width I simply drew all of the single lines and then used the offset tool to create thickness.  I neglected to grab a screen shot of the vector lines. Sorry.

Once I had the vectors I sent the CNC files to the MultiCam plasma cutter and watched the magic happen…

The plasma cutter sliced through the 3/16″ thick mild steel plate like butter and in only a few minutes per piece the cutting was done. They all turned out perfect and require only a teeny bot of sanding to get rid of minimal dross. I suspect it will be a whole lot more work to grind the paint off the two pieces and also smooth out the welds on the corners.

I decided that the corners of the box are to be rounded which I’ll accomplish by welding in a quarter section of pipe This meant I needed to make the sides a little thinner on the edges. While I had the plasma cutter all warmed up I also cut the ODYSSEY lettering.

Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.

Scribbling ideas

When I received my invitation to the 2016 Sign Invitational it didn’t take very long for me to think up a great idea. Not long at all. I quickly grabbed my sketchbook and over the next hour filled ten or twelve pages with scribbles (to most) of ideas. Before long I had my idea nailed.

I realize that some of my ‘competition’ reads these entries and I sure wouldn’t want to tip my hand so early in the game – especially with such a competitive and talented bunch as are entered. But, that being said I’m not afraid either, so I’ve decided I’ll show a couple of those initial sketches. If nothing else it will show how a project like this comes together.

The first scribble is the top half of my entry…  It will be called SIGN ODYSSEY. The drawing. although very rough positions each element in relation to all the others. I was working in approximate scale  to make sure it would all work out. I did spell odyssey wrong but I’ll make sure that gets fixed as we proceed.

The top sculptural portion of the display has to fit into and be shipped in a box which will act as the display piece for the piece at the show. Because of the caliber of the competition I decided to pull out all the stops. The box for my piece will be over the top as well. The new plasma cutter will come in handy! I did up a rough sketch depicting the (space) SIGN ODYSSEY. I did it as one sketch and then broke it into four pieces – one for each side. This makes the pattern continuous, no matter which angle you view it from.

Over the next weeks I’ll be posting progress shots as the design and pieces come together. Stay tuned…

Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.

2016 Sign Invitational

I absolutely love a challenge and when this arrived in my inbox I jumped at the chance!  Of the twenty invited sign makers there have been twelve of the world’s best respond already. The competition is going to be incredibly intense and fun! Best of all of the entrants will be gathered in Orlando at the International Sign Show for everyone to talk to and perhaps garner some great tips. I look forward to seeing the entries all lined up in a row. 

MultiCam has stepped up as a sponsor of the display space for the entries. Precision Board (Coastal Enterprises)  has also signed on as a sponsor. And everyone’s favourite sign magazine SignCraft has agreed to publish a series of articles on the contest. There will soon be a website with a blog to follow the many entries. I’ll also be posting progress on my entry here as well. Stay tuned…

2016 Sign Invitational

The purpose of this contest is to showcase the talents of the participating sign makers. We all can benefit from a little friendly competition. Each participant is to create a showpiece to the best of their ability and in the process raise their own personal bar. In doing so they become better and benefit from the effort.

Contest Details:  

Contest date: April 20-23, 2016 ISA Expo Orlando, Florida

Registration: Invitation Only. Invitations will be sent out in Early October. The contest will be limited to 20 sign makers. Sign makers who wish to participate must RSVP by OCTOBER 30th 2015 to be included.  The contest lineup will be completed and announced  by October, 31, 2015


1) Each sign maker is responsible for shipping their creation to and from the ISA show. Deadline for shipping and arrival to ISA Expo is TBD. Creations may be hand delivered to the show as long as they arrive by the deadline.

2) Each sign maker who enters the contest is required to attend the show. The great part in this contest is getting to know and learn from each other. Competition is a great motivator. 

3) Each creation when assembled has to fit inside a specific envelope. The piece on it’s display stand (the crate) must measure no more than six feet tall by two feet wide by two feet deep. This build envelope includes a shipping crate which your creation must fit inside (for transport) and be displayed on top for the show. Please refer to diagram A.

4) Electric (120 volt) or battery power may be integrated into the creation. Lighting of all types is allowed. All types of motorization/mechanical movement are prohibited.

5) Each piece must have the word ‘SIGNS’ integrated into the design in some fashion.

6) Judging will take place at the 2016 ISA Sign Expo and will be voted on by show attendees in a blind judging fashion. The creations are not to be visibly identified by shop, artist name or logo.


Rube Goldberg  – A contraption , invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion.

These machines usually have many moving parts. Because our contest allows no motorization or movement of the display piece(s) it presents a formidable design challenge to capture the feeling of movement. The further constraints of maximum size and theme also make the design that much more difficult. It is our hope that the more challenging the competition the more creative the entries will be. This is a chance to have some real fun!

All creations will be displayed for judging in MultiCam’s booth at the 2016 International Sign Expo in Orlando, Florida

Results of the blind voting will be announced at the ISA show on April 23, 2016. Time TBD.

Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.