It is hard to believe that it was only seven years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research I quickly found out that with the relative simplicity of EnRoute, CNC routers were capable of just about anything imaginable. This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as we continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful software... -dan

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Today our team finished the creative work in Cultus Lake Adventure Park. It has been an exciting and busy ten month journey.  From the start we anticipated we would still be painting after the park opened it's gates but through the hard work (and lots of overtime) of our crew we managed to finish two whole days ahead of the park opening. Final pictures of the park will have to wait until next week as the park crew is still hauling in the landscaping materials and finishing their work. Final cleanup of the site will not happen until just before the park opening.

In the meantime I have been taking pictures of the completed signs and other features as I am able.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Last week of contraction for Cultus Lake Adventure Park

The Cultus Lake Adventure project is massive by most shop standards. The project started back in the middle of September of last year. Now we are in the final week of production with the gates to swing open to the public next Saturday. That leaves five working days to complete our work. While we have been putting in about an hour of overtime per day and two saturdays of pure overtime the pace in the last weeks has been steady - not rushed. We are actually ahead of where I thought we would be at this point. And that is a good thing!

The signs we have been working on over the last year are now pretty much all in place and looking mighty fine with all of the supporting theme work around them. In the next week we have plenty of painting to do while the owner's crews add soil to the planters, water to the creeks and ponds and even some sidewalks to pour. It is going to be a week of high energy. This will be combined with the operational crew also coming on site for their training to run the rides and handle the expected crowds. Excitement builds.

I thought I would share a few pictures of the project as it finally comes together. This is the very same vision I imagined back before the first shovels hit the dirt.

The carousel and balloon ride are now fully functional and ready for our guests.

The saloon is ready for the operational crew to move in and start serving guests.

The western themed trading post got it's last paint on Thursday

The rides are being tested, sometimes with our crew as eager volunteers. I snapped this picture from the top of the Windmill Drop.

We finished the paint on the western gate on Friday. I'll install the entrance sign on the upper cross beam tomorrow.

Bucky's Bumper Boat area was finished on Thursday. I was at the site today for a planning walk through and the pool is full and ready for the bumper boats.

This will be the last week I am out of the studio and I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things there. As the current worksite is cleaned and polished in preparation for the opening I'll be taking plenty more pictures of the project and I'll be sure to post them here. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More signs installed

As the project nears completion the pace is certainly ramping up. Today the last of the concrete walkways was poured inside the park, leaving only sidewalks around to go. Our crew is now down to paint and details with eight more workdays before the gates open to the public.

We installed two dimensional signs today. The first was on the Happy Horse Saloon. It sure is good to se the sign out of our studio at last and on the wall where it belongs.

We also welded the Pedal Power by the Hour sign into place on top of the pole. We'll be doing the last of the sculpted concrete work tomorrow to finish it off.

There's only a few routed signs left to install including the washroom signs and the signs over the entrance. They'll go up later this week. Stay tuned for lots of pictures of the finish project soon and I'll include a walkthrough video of the park to show everyone how it all fits together. Stay tuned...


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Western eye candy

There's only ten more working days before the park opens. This means the hours are long and the pace is quick. We have one more day of sculpted concrete work to do and then it is down to paint. The clock ticks loud each and every day.

Today the crew finished painting and glazing the upper false fronts. This meant we could at last install two more signs. We used french cleats made from 3/4" plywood to hang the signs securely.

The signs don't scream from the upper areas but rather simply and quietly tell the story of their local. For those guests who are observant the dimensional signs will be a delightful reward.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Armadillo Hotel sign hung

No matter how great a sign may look in our studio the important thing is how it looks when it gets installed. Today, it was time at last to install the Armadillo Hotel sign. We loaded it onto the man lift and then raised it into position. A quick test fit was done to ensure a straight and level installation. Then we screwed on the french cleat and hung the sign for the last time. A couple of extra screws through the face (where they will not be seen) ensured the sign will stay in place for a long, long time.

The sign colors looked rich and pleasing. The sign blends in with the rest of the decor and is perfectly sized for the space.

The beauty of designing all the signs for an establishment (and the establishment as well) is that all of the signs work together rather than each fighting for attention. Nothing is out of place. There are now four dimensional signs in place with more ready to go up very soon.

With a little more paint in this area we will hang the last of the signs. Then a full cleanup will ready the space for the thousands of guests who will arrive shortly after that.

Stay tuned for the last of the signs to be hung...