Sign Challenge 2018 progress

I jumped into the building of my 2018 Sign Invitational piece as soon as I returned from Las Vegas nine months ago. The theme for the 2018 invitational is ‘MARVELOUS MACHINE’  I posted pictures of my progress perviously on the blog here. The last post was July 1. Since then we’ve been slammed with lots of creative projects in the shop as well as numerous business trips to Trinidad, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Atlantic City and more. That meant the piece has been mostly collecting dust since then. But with the holidays and New Year quickly approaching it was time to get back to work once more.

In the last few days I’ve been out in the shop after hours helping Phoebe with a school project she’s working on. While I was mixing sculpting epoxy for her I also found time to work on my Sign Invitational piece once more. The piece is coming along pretty well, with the bottom two thirds almost done, with the exception of paint. I also mounted the ‘human interface device’ (HID) today. I used parts off an old antique typewriter I had laying around.

This coming week and over the holidays I hope to put in a little more time and hopefully will finish the sculpting. It’s going to be fun!

For anyone who wishes to enter this year’s fun contest drop me a line as it is time to seriously get going.

Published with permission from Source.

Designing a bracket

After I mounted the dynamo to the marvellous machine it had a little shake which gave me some pause. Because the piece is to travel many thousands of miles in the back of a transport truck I became worried about a failure. The solution was to create another bracket which attached to the top portion. As I looked at the space it became apparent that if I added a bracket here it would interfere with the next gear I was going to add.

I decided to offset the gear to the left and use the same bracket to hold it in place. I hand held the gear in position and then took some quick measurements.

Then I opened EnRoute and began to create some scaled vector shapes. The simple functions of drawing in EnRoute allowed me the freedom to design the shapes separately and then combine them later. The circle at the top represents the smoke stack to which I would be welding the bracket. We would use this to trim the bracket to shape in order for it to fit perfectly around the stack. The box was used to determine scale and would also be used to trim the final shape..

Once I had the shapes I needed I combined them.
I then used the jigsaw tool to trim it to shape on three sides.
As I checked the final shape I noticed there was one sharp point in the curve (bottom left) I knew this would be there. The solution to fix it was simple.
I used the point edit to remove one vector node and the curve became perfect.
With that small correction the file was ready to be exported as a DXF and then sent off to the MultiCam plasma cutter.

Published with permission from Source.

Telling a story with paint

Yesterday I mounted the dynamo armature to the largest gear on the ‘MARVELOUS MACHINE’. I then designed and cut a bracket to mount the outer housing. I painted and aged the pieces prior to assembly. It was pure magic to watch it all turn.
It was looking pretty good but I wasn’t finished quite yet. I knew a few minutes with a brush would change things in a big way.

I first painted two coats of metallic gold on the raised areas of the name plate. When this as dry I added a little aging to tone it down. I then came back with a brighter metallic gold and added a little bling to the areas what would naturally wear with use.
I then  added a little rust to the base on the right side. This was dirtied up with some dark glaze. Then I brought out some dark metallic silver and dry brushed the edges of the rotor and also the top edges of the base. This was followed up with the teeniest amount of bright silver on the edges to add a little wear and bling to those areas. Once again I aged things back down a smidge before I called it done.
The piece instantly had a history and looked like it had been in service for many decades. It looked well used but cared for and maintained.

Published with permission from Source.


As I thought about what my ‘MARVELOUS MACHINE’ would do I decided the steam engine would power an electric generator which would in turn power the next device. With a little research I discovered they were called a DYNAMO when they were invented. On further research I found a photo of one I liked.
I did a sketch to visualize how it would fit on a heavy duty bracket and have a gear to drive it. Then it was time to guild the routing files.
As with every project the first step is to take a good look at what we are building. I then break it into sub components and design the files and pieces separately. The centre vector was built by using rectangles and using the jigsaw tool 
I then drew up some rectangles which would be used to create the motor housing pieces. These were centered. The point edit tool was used bend in the sides and the jigsaw tool was used to cut them out.

I created the other pill shaped vectors for the top and bottom pieces as well as the side magnets.
To crete the magnet cylinders I first used the dome tool to create a relief.
I then created a zero height relief of the shape and size I wanted the final relief.
I then merged the two reliefs by selecting the rectangle relief first and then merging (highest).

For the top I used the dome tool but selected the limit to height. I randomly picked 1.2″ in height and

I selected the plaque and lit up the render of the relief. It showed me how it would fit on top of the curve.
It was time to build the plaque which would be mounted to the top. I created the half inch relief.
I then selected the base relief, the inner oval and the lettering and sunk them into the relief  using the subtract from command.

I then duplicated the pieces I needed which made everything ready for tool pathing.

Published with permission from Source.

Full throttle story telling

A simple electrical on-off switch would have done the job of turning my MARVELOUS MACHINE on and off. But a simple switch wouldn’t have told the story I needed to tell.

My MARVELOUS MACHINE is ‘driven’ by steam. To properly control suck a divide we needed a mechanical throttle, much like what one would find in an old steam train engine. I had built a similar throttle for our train steam engine last year. I had considered using the same file but I didn’t need a reverse on this machine.

To build the throttle I first needed a segment of a cogged wheel. I built the teeth which I would use to cut out the sprocket. I then used the jigsaw tool to create this vector.

I then drew up some lines using the drawing tools. This would form the outline of the base of the unit. I positioned this over the partial sprocket I had previously created. By adding the various circles and sections and using the jigsaw tool I created the final shape.

I built up various shapes using the drawing tools and then combined them to create the long handle, pull lever and various other bots and pieces.

I was originally going to use a tapered base but opted for a box design because of space considerations. In the screen shot below the shapes for the pieces are created. A few last pieces still need to be merged together.

This shot has all of the final vectors. The five boxes on the left were plasma cut from 1/8″ thick plate steel. The pieces on the right side were all cut from 3/16″ plate steel.

I cut the box pieces first on our MultiCam plasma cutter simply because the machine was already set up for 1/8″ thick material. As fast as the pieces came off the machine I ground up the edges and tacked them together. I then welded the corners up and used a sanding disk to smooth the welds.

The throttle lever was assembled with a combination of bolts and welding. It too went together in a hurry. There is a bolt on access panel in the bottom box to facilitate mounting an electric micro switch inside which will be actuated by the lever.

Published with permission from Source.