What’s it cost to produce this 48-by-42-in. 3D sign?
By Michael Keene
Posted on Monday, August 26th, 2019
HDU board: $215
Paint and misc: $144
Total materials: $359
Sales/design/file prep: 3 hours
Precut panels to shape: 1 hour
Finish panels and mask: 2.5 hours
Rout panels: 4 hours
Hand carving: 3 hours
Finish paint work: 5 hours
Assembly and clean up: 2 hours
Total time: 20.5 hours
Though most of my work comes from referrals and word-of-mouth, some arrives thanks to my website—which is the only real marketing that I do. This project came about that way. The customer, who is over two hours away in the mountains of the western part of the state, found me online. They emailed me saying they had an existing design and wanted me to fabricate the sign for their farm.
The artwork turned out to be fairly complex. When you ungrouped the parts of the design, there were a lot of little pieces. I spent about two hours getting it ready for the router. Sales time and other file prep added about an hour.
The 48-by-42-in. sign is made of high density urethane board. No backer was used because the sign would be installed flat against a fence.
Before I rout a sign, I typically like to prefinish the surface of the panel. Once that’s dry, I mask it and do the CNC work. Then I finish the routed areas and pull the mask, which gives a nice clean job.
There’s a lot of work in this for one little farm sign. It shows how you can interpret a 2D drawing for use as a 3D sign—and what can be done with multiple layers to add to the dimensional effect. Layers add a lot of interest.
This was a fun sign to produce, and it probably ate up a little more time than I planned for. I made a good customer, though, and I’ve done more work for him since doing this project.