I’ll take a Wrap and a Giant Hot Dog Please

This project allowed us to meld two of our skills, vehicle wraps and 3D Sign Making,  into one “unique” looking vehicle.  Our client Callahan’s Hot Dogs in Norwood was in need of a new vehicle wrap to match their now famous Hot Dog Truck. So Nanette dove into the design then Dan called and asked… “Can you build a giant hot dog for the top of the van?”. Of course I said yes

This is how we did it.

First the new design was created for the wrap. As the guys are working on this we’ll have the guys in fabrication building the hot dog.

Callahans-Proof Small


We started with the logo and converted it into a 3D file in Enroute Pro. Then sized it up and split it into two parts. We’ll cut the hot dog in slices so we can build a “skeleton” inside of it. This is important – we need this to be strong and solid as it cruises down the highway.


Peter has the foam pieces laid out and will begin building the aluminum structure that will hold this all together.




Meanwhile…. back in the “wrap room” Rad and Greg are cranking out the install.



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We are really customizing this one – all lettering has been removed from the van and we’ll replace them with the name of the van “Minibeast”. we also removed the Ford emblems and fabricated custom emblems that tread “Since 1950″. we cut the letters of out PVC and will paint them metallic with our PPG Paint System.


The emblems are cut from PVC then painted metallic. We then printed the graphic directly to the emblem plate.   Once printed we clear coated them.299 300 303


Peter has the basics done and he’s ready to test the sizing of the hot dog. 309 318

I’m in the paint room customizing the hubcaps!






Dan stopped by for an inspection of the wrap – He’s a little anxious to get that Callahan’s hot dog on there! Don’t worry – it’s coming.


Holin and Peter have the dog coated with AquaResin, sanded and ready for paint.  We’ll spray prime it and paint the base color then hand paint the details.







Uh oh – can’t get it out the door…. No we got it.


Time for the install.        433 442 All good.  (now we have to light it up). And again – I’m hungry.



– Steve

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.


Custom Logo Sign

Oh how we love our friends at Jura! Not only are they wonderful people but they make the greatest coffee makers on the planet!

As they are building out their new headquarters they requested KDF to fabricate a large logo for the reception area.This logo is approximately 4’x8′.

We are making it out of 1 piece of 15# Precision Board HDU which is 2″ thick. We remove excess material from the back to reduce the weight. Once complete we’ll pin mount it to the wall.

After cutting the logo we spray a coating of AquaResin to give it a nice hard shell and to seal the foam. A quick sanding and we have the finish we need for painting.



Two coats our PPG waterborne primer.


And then color….

110  Once the color has dried we applied a satin clear coat.103  And we are ready to install!


All done. Best of luck in your new headquarters!

(I need to go get some coffee)




Let the Wrapping Begin! KDF Custom Wrap Sign

The shop is all abuzz with the news!

We’re very excited  to announce we have completed the construction of our new wrap area! We’ve tripled our capacity and we’re ready to wrap!

Of course now we need a sign for the 18′ walls and you know a small sign won’t do.  So… we went with a 6′ x 7′ footprint.  Nanette came up with a real nice design that we could work with to make a printable dimensional sign.

Here is the original design

Wraps Sign DesignOnce Rad setup the file for production it was time to cut the foam. We started by cutting the elements of the sign out of simple white gator foam of varying thicknesses. 2″, 1″ and 1/2″.
012 Into our new paint shop and all the elements are painted. this is a waterborne paint system so its quick dry – all the parts are back out to the printing department for flatbed printing on our Oce’ 350.


Now its time for assembly. All the elements are on the table – screwed and glued.

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This is basically one long day of work to get this cut, painted,  printed  and up on the wall.

This gives you a good idea of how big this bad boy is. Greg is ready to wrap!

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A Trip to the Police Station!


Don’t get the wrong idea. KDF is honored to have been chosen by the great Borough of Northvale, NJ to create some custom signage.

Here are some of the signs before they go out the door for install.  We used Precision Board HDU, both 15lb and 30lb,  and cut the relief of the patch with a 1/6″ Ball end mill on our MultiCam 3000 CNC.  Everything was painted  with Modern Masters Metallic Paint.



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Construction progress going well.


Hey all! We’ve been working on our expansion and happy to report that it’s going well. The walls are up for our new Vehicle Wrap bay and the paint shop will be right next door.

We’ve more than doubled our capacity for wraps! We’re all very excited and we’re close, very close. Waiting on some snow to thaw so we can put the overhead door in.

Here is the new wall going up for the paint shop.


The “wrap room”.

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All Painted – ready for the finishing touches,  some wall graphics and painting equipment! (and lots of business)

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A Pig… With a Mustache

Not totally sure why but my 8 year old is obsessed with pigs. And if you throw a mustache on it she’s even more happy. So I wanted to make something that we could hang on the wall here at the studio that would make her smile when she visits – and give us a bit of a challenge to make.

I started by finding a basic 3D model of a pig then did a little digital sculpting to make a “friendlier” shape.


Once complete Peter brought the file into Enroute and sliced it up (no ham or bacon jokes). We cut the basic shape out of two 5″ blocks of 15lb Precision Board HDU then glued them together.


Now we are ready to shape and sculpt over it.


We start by sanding and removing material then do a little hand shaping of the foam  – this is HDU and very easy to work with.

Once we have the shape we want we add Magic Sculpt 2 part epoxy putty to create the realistic skin and details.


Holin is painting away and Peter is making the wood panel to mount our little pig to. Once cut Peter does some more hand texturing to the sides. All primed and ready to go.


All Painted! Hmm – did we forget something?


Off to the 3D Printer – I need a mustache and fast!

088 089   Final Pig

Can’t wait to hang him.

– Steve

Still “Frozen” this Christmas…

Once again we had the great fortune to work on the “Frozen” display at the Disney Store in Times Square. This was a lot of fun as usual and my daughter Mary got to meet Olaf in person! The client gave us sketches of the Frozen Castle and our challenge was to make a display out of acrylic.

We came up with a few concepts and started building it half scale to work out the kinks.


Once we had the design down it was time to build it full size which was about 8′ tall. Here is the main structure made out of gator foam. We cut grooves in the gator foam to allow us to glue the acrylic in place.


Stop everything! Olaf has arrived. He’ll be part of the display so we need to get accurate measurements before we finalize everything.351Back to the display.  The 4″ gator gets wrapped with printed graphics. Here Rad is installing the vinyl but he may need a little help.


So we put Olaf to work installing the some of the vinyl.


Now we’re ready to connect the acrylic panels. First we cut the acrylic then apply printed translucent vinyl to the back side.  Then using UV curable glue we attach the returns to the side of each acrylic tower for depth.

 Brian works out the mechanics of the ornament spinners – these have to be lightweight and last throughout the season.  The first prototype is perfect and we’re ready to start building them.371

Meanwhile the whole crew Rad, Mark, Greg Holin and Eddie are super busy – printing, cutting and inserting the motors into the hanging signs. There are a lot of these! There are giant marquee signs and other cool accents all over the shop!




We had Olaf cut some of the boards to make things go a little quicker. Luckily he’s wearing sneakers – he’s doing a lot of running around today.


We’re almost there – time to clean up – Olaf is pretty good at this too.


Olaf had a long day and needs a nap before we ship everything out.


Here it is – after our client did there wonderful staging, accents and magic!  Great job everyone! Another fun project!









Full 3D Dolphin Art Piece

We recently had a great opportunity to work with an artist client of ours.  His piece incorporated a  five foot long three dimensional dolphin. Of course we immediately said yes to the project and jumped right in.

We started by sourcing a 3D Model of the “perfect dolphin” for the job – the client reviewed all the options and once he settled on the final shape we began our work.

In the 3D model we removed the fins which will be cut separately and attached later.


From the 3D model we created a relief for each slice, 2 slices per side. Our material will be 4″ thick 15lb Precision Board HDU. All of the design work  was done directly in Enroute Pro. 119

Now we’re ready to start cutting the HDU on our MultiCAM 3000 CNC. We start with a long 1/2″ Foam Bit on the rough pass to remove the excess material quickly.  Then move to a 3/8″ Ball End Mill for the finish pass.

123 137 152 156Once it’s all glued together we’ll sand the facets off for a smooth surface.

Now its time for the fins!

To cut the fins we decided to cut each fin out of 1 piece of foam. So we cut the first side – then reregistered the foam block on the table and cut the second side – giving us a seamless 3D part.



Now its time to send all of these parts to the paint shop for some steel, finishing and painting.

Fist the steel frame needs to be welded and set inside the dolphin. This will give the piece a lot of strength and we can hide the support bracket that will bolt to the steel stand. photo

photo 1Once the welded frame is complete the dolphin can be screwed and glued together. Then the first coat of primer is sprayed.photo 5

All the holes will get filed and the crew will sand and sand and sand until perfect. The final paint and clear coats applied and the finish will look like glass. Here is the dolphin in all its glory at the gallery in Germany.

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