bfree Sign: A Dimensional Sign of Metal and Wood (or maybe not)

I am lucky enough to live in the great town of Warwick, NY – we have wonderful restaurants and shops and its a destination for many people on weekend getaways. There is a new trendy shop opening, bfree and we were lucky enough to be called to help with her “new” look.

The clients logo needed some tweaking and unfortunately wouldn’t work on the sign.  We started by taking the logo and reformatting it to match the “feel” of the store and to better represent what you would see inside.

Our graphic designer Nanette jumped in and began creating a new logo which would incorporate wood, brushed metal and copper.


Client loved it – now its time to make this baby!

We began with 15# Precisionboard HDU at a 1.5″ thickness. This will allow us to get all the elements, except the bfree letters on one panel.  We carved the brushed texture and branch into the background and the wood texture of the frame using our MultiCam 3000 CNC.

595 599We drilled holes and cut pockets for our lettering which we’ll make separately as a two part letter.  605 While the machine was working away Peter experimented with the some techniques to create a realistic copper finish.

603We’ve sealed the foam with a coat of AquaResin and and primed. ready for paint!


We are using Modern Masters metallic silver as the base coat for the brushed metal. we’ll then add several glaze coats of latex color over it. When the sun hits it during the day it will shine like real metal and at night the overhead goosenecks will really bring out the metal finish and texture.



While Peter is painting the silver Holin is in the paint booth painting the letters. We’ve carved the copper “swirl”  texture directly into the PVC cut letters for additional texture. We’ll then mount the 1/4″ Copper PVC textured face to 1/2″ black PVC for dimension and to also add some contrast.




017 018 023 024 The letters are done – we’ll take them off and focus on the wood frame.

The latex base coat of the wood frame goes down then two or three coats of darker glaze. We now have a nice contrast of colors against the copper and black letters.




All painted – ready to go on the truck for the install.



171Installed and lit and looks great! We wish bfree the best of luck with your new location.


Knickerbocker Motorsports – Seat Mold

Knickerbocker Motorsports is the premier automotive racing team at Columbia University. These guys build and race Formula SAE race cars.

Very cool!

Recently we were contacted by the President of the Club, Vinod Nimmagadda, asking KDF to help them create the mold for the newly designed racecar seat. they’ll use the mold to create the seat out of carbon fiber. They’ve engineered every aspect of this car and supplied us with accurate 3D drawings and models.

FSAE_SeatWe are cutting the mold out of 15lb Precision Board HDU which was generously donated to the Club by Coastal Enterprises. We started with 5″ blocks of the 15lb Precision Board HDU about 30″x40″.  There are three parts to the mold which we’ll cut individually.  We ran the rough cut with a 1/2″ Foam Bit to take away as much material as fast as possible. We then came in with a 1/2″ Ball for the smooth finish.

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All done – just a little glue and sanding and they are ready to make their mold.

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It was a pleasure working with the team, these guys really know what they’re doing,  what a cool project. I hope they send pics once they’re done! Best of luck to Vinod and they gang with their competition!


(Last Years Team)


Bailey’s Project: Day 8 – Happy St. Patricks Day

Yesterday was the install day – it was cold out but the biggest challenge we had was knowing there was Guinness and Smoked Barbeque only feet from where we were standing and we couldn’t touch it!

We started the install by taking some final measurements then prepping the sign to be raised in the air. Now this baby is around 200lbs so it’s going to be tricky. 


We have the rope secured and tied around the bucket truck. I’ll be on the ground with a guide rope – John is working the bucket.


Up we go.  Now I’m scared standing on a chair let alone getting up on a roof, Brian climbed up like a monkey and to get the sign safely connected.

026 Not totally sure what he was trying to say in this picture. It was right after I told him that Bailey’s ran out of Guinness.



And its In!   I’ll post some pics lit up. What a great project – Thanks Bailey’s!!!! – Steve



Bailey’s Project – Day 1: Countdown to St. Paddys Day

If anyone reading this knows us at KDF you probably know that we love a challenge. Usually the challenge comes in the form of a tight schedule or a difficult design or a slew of creative ideas that need to be quickly conceptualized, sifted through and executed on.  This project has all of the above. It has an extremely detailed custom dimensional sign with LED’s, goosenecks, layer after layer of HDU and it all has to be done by St. Paddy’s Day! We’re going to earn our Guinness on this one!

Last year we had the pleasure of working with our friends at Bailey’s Smokehouse in Blauvelt NY ( AWESOME FOOD!!!!

We designed, printed and installed a van wrap for them. They’ve returned with a bigger and better request. A logo redesign and a custom sign to go with it.

So we started with what we’d love to see in a cool sign then worked backwards to create the logo.  We incorporated everything that was important to the client like the fonts, color and overall theme then we kicked it up a notch.

Here is the logo…


DAY1: Today we kicked off our build by pulling apart the logo and figuring out how to make it. We’ll have two teams on this project – Mark and I will be taking on the task of designing the sign parts in Enroute Pro then cutting them on our MultiCam 3000 CNC. We’ll be feeding the parts to “team two” for fabrication and painting.



This is the first layer of the sign – we are cutting it out of 2″ thick 15# Precision Board.



We’ve created a middle layer of HDU that we’ve cut a pocket into for out steel hanger.



Brian and Greg will be doing the fabrication. They’ll start by making the grill out of 1″ steel tubing. Once the outside tubing is bent around the form it’s off to the welding shop.

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Completing the Structure – Mechanical Fish Project

All the welding is done. The leveling feet are on and the steel structure is now complete and painted. All I have to do is cut the acrylic tray for the top tank and we are done with stage 1!


For the base of the top tank we used 2″ acrylic – overkill maybe – really cool custom acrylic fish tank tray – definitely!


I designed the cut in Enroute Pro then sent it down to the Multicam to do all the work.  We screwed some MDF to the table to keep this block in place. 1/2 an hour later – a perfect cut came off the table!


Perfect fit!photoft4

A quick leveling and we are looking good. Onto the next stage!


The Competition is On – A Fish Tale

Our mentor from the North, Dan Sawatsky, has been posting a super cool project that he has been working on at  We saw that he was involved in a friendly competition with some other superstar sign makers and we wanted in.

The rules of the competition – create a sign for the “The Institute for the Study of Mechanical Marine Life”.  The only requirement is that the sign has the text on it and that it includes a mechanical fish of some sort. We have until September 2nd to make this a good one – we’ll have to do the work at night as we are extremely busy – but it will be a fun!

Game on!

So Brian and I did a little brainstorming. we would meet the above criteria – but we have to come up with something smoking hot that no one has ever seen. Remember who we are up against – some of the best guys in the business.

On this one I think we’ll have to start with a story.

The story unfolds like this… We have a little fish that is scared to travel  – He’s built himself a mechanical fish out of driftwood to tool around the ocean so he can stay safe. The only way you can find this little guy is by using the specially designed periscope that was designed for … you guessed it “The Institute for the Study of Mechanical Marine Life”.

We started feverishly sketching the ideas as we developed our little story.  And it turns out – the mechanical fish is only a small part of the overall “sign”. We are going to create a standalone sign that will be lit with LED’s have lots of color, fun and can be viewed 360 degrees. Oh and the whole thing is… a fish tank. That’s right – I’m blaming Brian for this one!

Fish Tank-Proof Mechanical Fish Proof

I jumped right on designing the fish – Brian was on welding duty. He’ll start by fabricating the armature that will hold up this beast.

I have the basics of the fish designed in Enroute Pro with some texture – once I piece it all together I’ll do some hand carving.

Fish Doors

It’s off to the MultiCAM 3000 – We’re cutting `1.5″ 30lb Precision Board. I used a 3/8″ Ball End Mill for the rough pass and a 1/4″ Ball for the finish pass. Cutting Fish

Brian is out in the shop welding up a storm!  This sign will be strong with a steel frame to hold all the weight of the fish tank and enclosure.

Welding Frame

And… done.  Ready to start skinning this thang!

Completed Frame

Stay Tuned…