Merry Dragon pub sign – part three

We are really enjoying mixing mediums and using EnRoute to create the files for both steel (using a CNC plasma) and HDU ( using a CNC router). Using the same software to create both sets of files at the same time ensures the pieces fit together seamlessly and perfectly every time.

With the assembly of the routed pieces complete it was time to move on to the welded steel base and support structure. I designed all of the pieces in EnRoute and the MultiCam CNC plasma cutter made quick work of the cutting of the steel pieces. The base plate is 1/2″ thick steel to ensure the piece is bottom heavy and resistant to tipping over if someone bumps it. There is a length of 3″ x 3″ square tubing that goes up the middle providing ample structural strength to the post. The steel collar welded up around the 30 lb Precision Board. I welded the steel in short bursts to keep the heat down and the 1/4″ thick steel dissipated the heat nicely.

The lengthwise piece is where I will weld the heavy duty dragon bracket. I welded a second layer of 10 gauge steel plate behind the letters.

We then positioned the dragon bracket onto the post and welded it into place. This shot clearly shows the four layers of 1.5″ thick 30 lb Precision Board which we glued up for the sign. We used Coastal Enterprises PB BOND 240 – a one part glue activated by spritzing with water. It tends to squeeze out the edges a little but it is no problem as we always add texture there later anyway.

In the next shot you can see where I quickly used our hand held air powered die grinder to remove the glue and a thin layer of HDU. If there is any minor misalignment of the layers this is taken care of at the same time. I also use the hand held grinder to add woodgrain to the edges, bottom and top of the sign.

The first step of sculpting the little merry dragon is to weld up a quick armature with pencil rod. The rods are glued into predrilled holes in the Precision Board. Tomorrow I’ll work on the sculpt and then it is ready for paint!

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Dan Sawatzky

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force in the sign industry. He and his wife Janis are owners of Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation – a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional theme signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous international awards and Dan’s articles appear frequently in the sign trade publications. Dan and his crew also host Sign Magic and Sculpting Workshops in their studio a number of times each year with attendees coming from around the world. For more information please visit www.imaginationcorporation.com

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