EVERY ONCE IN a while, we get to do a special, cool little project that is entirely different from your everyday sign. That’s what’s extremely attractive about this industry. During any given week, we are tasked with what I like to call “creation.”
Whether it’s a hand-painted sign, a vehicle wrap, or a massive structure that installs 150 ft. in the air, we are fabricators. We create things that did not exist before. We take “ideas” and make them a physical, touchable, reality. And as sign-industry professionals, people come to us and ask us to make some crazy $***, right?
“What can I do to make my business stand out from the crowd? How can I make my Porsche cooler than my neighbor’s? How can we put our logo on the side of a skyscraper?” Standard questions entrepreneurs and visionaries ask themselves… and then they start thinking. They come up with these ideas. Some are crazy; some are genius. But all require someone to make them come to life, and boy, are we ready to make it happen!
A few months ago, one of our large fleet-wrap clients, Falcon Pest Control, came to us with some of those questions. One of their buildings, purchased 28 years ago, was in need of a signage facelift. The building featured channel letters, but the logo had changed years ago, and the existing pylon sign offered only spotty-fluorescent lighting and pan faces in desperate need of replacement.Advertisement
So, we built a set of individually mounted channel letters in Falcon’s new logo format, including 3M purple and bright-green translucent vinyl. The single steel pole for the pylon sign was still in good shape, as was the cabinet itself, so we just repainted the structure in satin black Matthews urethane. We gutted the interior of all existing lamps and wiring and retrofitted it with new Hanley LED technology. We used Hanley Stellar Edge S-1270 “mini modules,” mounted to just the bottom and top of the 12-ft.-wide cabinet to provide “perimeter lighting.” These ultrabright, cross-firing LEDs flooded the interior of the cabinet with massive amounts of bright white light (7000K) that smoothly illuminated our new 5 x 12-ft. flat acrylic pan faces, again featuring 3M purple translucent vinyl… an awesome project that really renovated the entire property. But that wasn’t enough. They also requested a giant 3-ft.-tall x 8-ft.-long 3D ant to be mounted atop their new pylon sign.
An ANT?! Yep.
This ant would have to withstand Florida hurricane season… not a normal request. And it would take multiple people from different departments to pull this one off.
Technical designer Justin Olsen provided the artwork, 3D drawings and templates. Dom Ream rough-cut multiple layers of 2-in.-thick, 15-lb. DUNA-USA CORAFOAM HDU for the ant’s body on the MultiCam APEX3R, while fabricator extraordinaire Robert Hazelton welded the aluminum “skeleton” for the ant’s body and legs. After the structural skeleton was complete, the HDU pieces were glued onto the aluminum body using 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant 4000 UV.
The hurricane-proof body of the ant then headed to the paint department, where lead painter Rene Mendez and Saul Borrero initially spent hours finely hand-carving and sanding the HDU layers to create a smooth, realistic, anatomically correct, 8-ft., dimensional ant. Once fully carved and sanded, the guys sprayed the ant with thick polyester primer, then several coats of red Matthews urethane, followed by Matthews high-gloss clear. Two black, beady eyeballs made for the final touches.
After this amazing build, we mounted the ant to a square aluminum base and installed it on the top of the pylon sign: A perfect example of creation at its finest!Advertisement
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