April '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P R I L 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 7 3 With a quick go-ahead, these gears were added to the acrylic fabrication files and a file to cut the matte black vinyl flourish was created. e gears were cut out of 1/8" and 1/4" acrylic for dimension on the laser. e tree was cut out of a sheet of 1" 18-lb. HDU on the CNC router. e tree was stark and lacked character. A quick breath of life was sculpted into the HDU by sanding away the harsh edges and adding the bark texture with a wire brush. All pieces were sanded and prepared for a quick coat of primer. Once the primer coats dried, a base coat was added. For the tree, a brown color was selected, and for the gears it was a variety of metallic fin- ishes. is piece was indoors, so paints were chosen for ease of adding later faux effects rather than for handling the ele- ments of an exterior application. A variety of various browns were painted on the tree and wiped, followed by some highlight colors and lowlights that would fall into the carved bark textures. Darker shadow colors were used in areas to help pull out added dimension. For the acrylic gears, some patina exam- ples were found and printed for refer- ence. e painted acrylic was Scotch Pad scuffed and, using a sponge as a brush, various acrylic paint colors were applied to create the faux patina look. Final gear With all our components complete, it was time to head out and install this proj- ect. First, everything was carefully laid out on the floor and reviewed with the client for final approval. is was marked and photographed and then the gears were strategically separated and VHB tape was applied to the areas of contact on the back. e tree was prepared for stud mount- ing and a pattern was taped to the wall, approved for location, and drilled. e tree also had several dollops of silicon on some of the branch areas for added sta- bility and the piece was adhered to the wall with masking tape as the silicone set. Once that set, the next step was to hang the gears. Using the photo taken earlier for reference, the gears were installed using the VHB tape and carefully located dol- lops of silicone. For the time piece, the matte black vinyl was centered and applied to the wall. e vinyl included the outlines of the gears. is provided a fantastic surface to VHB the gears into place; the areas where gears were on top of each other were done the same way, and a little silicone was added for assurance. The client's facility manager caught wind of our project during the design phase and the client encouraged him to put together some steampunk pipe accent- ing and lighting for the top and sides of our piece. All in all, it turned out well. It is always a pleasure to involve a client and their team in a cool company proj- ect like this. Projects of this type are always a refresh- ing challenge. is was a reminder of the blossoming opportunities involving envi- ronmental and themed graphics. Branch out of your comfort zone and explore the possibilities. Who knows, you may find that profits can grow on trees! GP The tree was laid out on the floor and assembled and labeled, then disassembled before installing. Sponge brushing acrylic over painted base coats for effect. Close-up of gear detail painting.

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