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.


United Cheese Steaks Of America – Food Truck – Oh Yeah!

Be prepared – they are coming to your town!

This is our latest wrap for United Cheese Steaks Of America food truck.

So this is where we start. We need to make this thing amazing – Its up to Nanette our designer to work with the client to come up with a design that will stop people in the tracks (and make them hungry). This truck is incredible inside and their food is amazing so the wrap has to live up to all of that and convey it!

Driver Passenger Back Front

For the graphic production we use the Avery EZ RS Supercast Vinyl with the Avery DOL 1060 cast  premium overlaminate film. We love this product and it always gives us quality results. Once the design has been completed our production team (Rad and Mark) will prep the files to be printed on our Mutoh Printers. Once printed we let the vinyl outgas for a day then its time to laminate and cut.

The panels are now onsite and ready for install – the guys are laying out the panels on the side for the truck for fitting purposes.  Once its all line up they’ll peel back the liner and start the applying the vinyl.Starting Driver SideCompleted Driver Side


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All done – Adams going to take it for a spin….


Nanette did an awesome job with the design, Rad and Mark cranked on production  setting up the files and getting this bad boy printed and delivered in time for install. Keith and Jordan wrapped like madmen to get this completed on time. Great job everyone!  Can’t wait to see it in action (or stopped in front of my house).

Go Get em’ Adam – Best of luck!

Get on their list at https://www.facebook.com/usacheesesteaks or on twitter at https://twitter.com/USACheeseSteaks

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!









Sign Recreation: Ben & Jerrys

Technology is truly awesome! We were recently contacted by a retail store that had  their sign damaged beyond repair in a storm. The client had to have the same sign recreated – this was a hand carved Ice cream cone and logo. She decided to ship me the parts to inspect so I could recreate it.

The package arrived and yes it was beyond repair and covered in dirt and… mold.


As I was putting the parts together to get measurements Rad, our Production Manager, walked by and said “Just 3D Scan It”.  I hadn’t thought of it but that sounded like a fun way to reproduce the sign.

So I put together the broken sign on the floor and ran our hand held Cubify Sense 3D scanner over the face of the old sign and it appeared on the screen in 3D model form. Using the clients supplied files I recreated the logo panel in Enroute Pro. I did some touch ups and scaling as well then  programmed the tooling and was cutting within an hour.791

220We carved the body of the sign from 15lb Precision Board HDU on our MultiCam 3000, – The Ice cream was cut from a 3″ thick block. The cone was cut from a 2″” thick block and the round sign panel was a 1″ thick piece. We then mirrored everything to make it a double sided sign.

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Once the body was on its way it was time to produce the logo panels. We made these from 1/2″ Black PVC with 1/2″ White PVC letters and the border is 1/8″ White PVC painted yellow.

We created pockets for the letters for easy registration when we glue them in place.


  789We’ve added some magic sculpt for the chocolate chips to give it a little more dimension.  Looks like we’re ready to paint.


Once primed with Coastal FSC-88 Primer we are ready for our color base coats. In this case we are using latex exterior paint. We’ve computer matched the colors from the original sign.


842Once the base paint is on we can create the cone texture with two layers of a darker glaze then paint in the chocolate chips.  845

And here is the new (old) sign!

Completed Photo


Rustic Sign – The Catskill Mountain Storehouse


We just had the pleasure of working with Tim Luby at the Catskill Mountain Storehouse  for their new retail location. They wanted a simple sign that had a rustic “trail” feel. So we set out to get it done.

We cut it out of 18lb Precision Board HDU on our MultiCam 3000 CNC. We’ve cut two panels that we’ll glue together. We’ve applied a wood texture and left the letters of the sign raised.

745Once done cutting we glued the panels together then primed the sign with precision boards FSC-88 Primer. We then mixed up some latex paint and painted the brown wood color with several glazes of a darker brown.  The letters got their yellow paint.

Here we printed the clients logo to 3mm dibond on our Oce’ Arizona flatbed printer – then glued in place.

775All done and ready for the store opening!




Callahan’s Hot Dogs – Food Truck Wrap

If you’re from NJ there’s a good chance you have great memories of Callahan’s Hot Dogs.  Callahan’s Hot Dogs has been a staple in NJ since 1950.  Unfortunately they closed their doors about seven years ago.But the grandson of founder Leonard “Artie” Castranni, had big plans for the beloved hot dog business.  Daniel DeMiglio, being a smart entrepreneur decided to resurrect the brand…and take it mobile with a food truck.

Daniel contacted KDF for the branding and design on the food truck – and we were pumped! We had a short time to get it designed, printed and installed for the big debut.  we got it in right under the wire. Nanette jumped right on the design and nailed it – Rad got the vinyl done just in time.

We were proud to work with such an iconic “NJ” brand and extremely happy that Daniel has brought back Callahan’s! If you see this truck YOU MUST STOP FOR A HOT DOG!

Best of luck – Daniel.  Welcome Back Callahans – you’ve been missed!

– Steve

We started with this…


And Here it is!photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

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Spring Project for Bohemian Bloom

Sometimes KDF is  just a small part of a project. We could be creating a structure, a graphic or a number of other elements for our clients designs. No matter what is we love to see what our clients final piece!

In this case we created some foam letters for Tana Leigh Gerber at Bohemian Bloom who creates amazing paper flora. Check out her work.

We used 1/2″ Gator Foam cut on our MultiCAM 3000. We cut tabs into the logo and slotted a base for easy setup.photo6


photo3  After…final3



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“Robots” Sign – Complete

We’re coming to the end of the “Robots” project. I’m doing a little painting in place as it hangs in the wall.  First I’m going to paint the “guts” of the letters – then age them a little bit. This is a Modern Masters Metallic Copper.  I’ll then do a glaze of Black Pearl over the copper. Once dried I’ll rust out the metal clamps.

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The last touch is to dry brush some pure silver back over the face of each letter.


Final Assembly is complete, LED’s are on and my “faux” robotic arm moves back and forth when the motion sensor is triggered. All I have to do is tuck away the wires and this baby is done. This was a lot of fun!

Hmmm what to do next?

– Steve.

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