Inbox – May 2023

By signcraft

Posted on Saturday, May 6th, 2023

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Australian Letterheads, a 3D printed model sand rail and the Quebec sign museum project…


28th Annual Australian Letterheads—October 13–15, 2023

The Australian Letterheads’ annual meet is coming up October 13–15, and all are invited. Roger and Felicity Warsop will be hosting the meet at their shop, Retroline, in Girraween, a suburb of Sydney. You can learn more on the Letterheads Australia Facebook group or download the registration form here. You can also email Roger for details.

Download the Registration Form

For those who want to learn a little extra, advance workshops will held on October 12 with Todd Hanson [Hanson Graphix, Wauseon, Ohio], David Kynaston [Kynaston Signs, Llangollen, North Wales, UK], Adrian Marchio [AirBrush World, Sydney, Australia] and Jasper Andries [Signpainters & Co., Amsterdam, Netherlands].


3D printing makes a dream a reality

As a young boy I imagined what it would be like to build a large-scale off-road race car, but I didn’t have skills in building anything at that time. I figured it would be a dream that never came to fruition.

Fast forward several years: I took up airbrushing T-shirts to make some money, but most of all to create designs I felt were cool-looking.

The art of automotive cartoonist Dave “Big Deal” Deal, known for his work with the movie Cars, had a line of plastic model kits called Deal’s Wheels. His cartoons were featured in comic magazines like Hot Rod Cartoons, Cycle Toons and the like.

His art was my inspiration. So, I airbrushed T-shirts, using some of Big Deal’s artwork of dune buggies and various cars to learn the look and style of Deal’s art form.

During that time I had a chance to go to Dumont Dunes in California and go for a “white-knuckled” thrill ride in a turbo-powered sand rail. It was amazing, and the coolest thing I had experienced.

A sand rail is equipped with paddle tires—monster tires with large paddle-like scoops vulcanized on them. They propel you up the steepest angle of dunes like it was nothing. As you go up, as if you are driving up the steep dunes, the sand feels as if it is moving down the dune as you are going up. It’s the sand flowing down like water—quite an illusion. I promised myself that day I would have my own sand rail someday.

While in college a few years later, I learned of a sand rail for sale locally. It turned out to be an elderly woman had won a ready-to-drive sand rail on the TV game show, The Price Is Right. At her age, she had no need for the buggy.

This car was made by the same company whose logo and sand rail I had airbrushed on a T-shirt—and it was even painted blue! I bought the buggy and still have it today.

Many years later, I came across an ad online for a quarter-scale Volkswagen Beetle engine kit that is identical to the engine in my full-scale buggy and ordered it. At the time, I was working at a local military base, doing 3D printing with metal aluminum medium. In this case the powder is welded pass-by-pass to create a solid aluminum part.

For those who don’t know what a 3D printer is, it is a technology that allows a machine to make a desired part by making several hundred to several thousand passes to produce an actual three-dimensional object by extruding a very small amount of material at each pass. Each time a pass is complete, the printer raises up and makes another pass. It does this over and over until the object is complete. It’s amazing, and a lot of fun.

A co-worker suggested I get a 3D printer of my own to print things at home. I was reluctant but I did just that. It is one of the best things I have ever done—learning how to design and print things with it.

Sometime later, while working on the scale engine model, I realized that I could print the parts needed to build a complete scale sand rail that looked just like my big buggy.

And in that moment, I knew that I was going to make my childhood dream of building a large-scale model of a buggy come true! And it has. The chassis is constructed from PVC tubing that is reinforced with steel rods. The frame joints are glued together with some extra glue beaded up to look like welds. Most everything else was 3D printed.

David Spain, Lynx Graphics, Barstow, California


Quebec-style hand-carved signs wanted for museum project

Ghyslain Grenier [L’Enseignerie Collection, Saint-Gervais, Quebec, Canada] is looking for hand-carved signs that have been done in Quebec to feature in the Museum of Civilisation in Quebec City, Ontario. Some of these beautiful signs have been lost over the years, but many were saved by people who realized how unique they are.

If you happen to have, or know of, one of the signs carved in the style originated by Michel Lajeunesse in the 1970s and carried on by Ghyslain, Martin Blanchard, Sylvain Choquette, Louise Drouin, among others in the region, he would like to hear from you.

This link illustrates the type of sign he is looking for, and you can reach Ghyslain by email here.