Case Study - Nice Carvings


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Children's Museum

Childrens Museum Project"I never thought I would be making 3D art for a Museum. When the job came along I was very excited. The design of the Children's Museum logo did look pretty complex, but you can't let that scare you in the sign business, and so I pretty much just jumped right in as usual. "

Childrens Museum Project

Childrens Museum ProjectLike many signs before, Melissa's approach to work is extremely motivating, and this occasion proves to be no different. After feeling a little intimidated that the 'Children's Museum' sign would require some real 3D modeling, Melissa opened Vectric's Aspire software and got straight to work. It wasn't long before Melissa realized how effortless and effective the drawing and 3D modeling features are,

"It was a little intimidating at first, and my husband and I realized it would be a team effort. My husband Jason usually takes care of the cnc machining, and the easier 3D modeling. When the modeling becomes difficult, we work on the modeling together. I have been carving by hand for quite a few years now, and that experience has become very useful in modeling on the computer. This job consisted of about 35 components, and that really seemed like a lot. I did still fix a few things by hand after cutting on the machine, but as we get much better with the great modeling features in Aspire, the manual carving required is steadily decreasing. That is nice because then we can concentrate on other areas of making 3D signs like finishing materials and techniques. We are constantly trying to improve the durability of our products as well. We now use high density urethane almost exclusively and we try and combine that with some of the better finishes like Sherwin Williams, One Shot Enamels, etc."

Childrens Museum Sign Details
Size: 3ft by 4ft
Material: 1.5" Precision Board 15lbs
Finish: Sherwin Williams Super Paint
CNC Machine: Shopbot 48by96
Modeling Software: Aspire 2.5
Other: Moderate amount of hand touch up carving due to being just intermediate level Aspire users at the time.



Xbox Live Game of the Year; Castle Crashers

Castle CrashersAfter producing the Children's Museum sign, NiceCarvings have gone on to produce many more complex designs in confidence using Aspire on a daily basis. Their latest comission was a custom video game side-art piece for XBOX 360 Live's Game of the Year - "Castle Crashers" by The Behemouth.

Melissa explains how Aspire has really started making an impact on what they are now capable of offering their clients like never before,

Castle Crashers 2"Since the making of the Children's' Museum sign, we have done many more complex designs in Aspire. We now use the program every single day. The 'Castle Crashers' job had a component count of over 125 individual components to make up our final model for cutting! It was another very challenging model job, and during the process you couldn't help but think that there is absolutely nothing you cannot accomplish in Aspire. It is kind of a zen like feeling almost, and you do really feel like you are on to something that only people that use Aspire could possibly experience."

Castle Crashers
Size: 6ft by 3ft²
Material: 1.5" Design Board 15lbs
Finish: Artist Acrylic Paint & Acrylic Gloss Clear Coat
CNC Machine: Shopbot 48by96
Modeling Software: Aspire 2.5
Bits: 1" End Mill (Roughing) ½" & ½" & ¼" ball nose (3D finish) , ¼" end mill (profile)




After the release of Aspire 3, NiceCarvings were quick to upgrade to ensure they had the latest features Vectric had to offer, and this was perfect timing for their latest job.

Clarkton 3D City Billboard SIgn

Clarkton 3D City Billboard SIgnThe Clarkton project showcases Nice Carvings most recently commissioned work by the Deputy and Court Clerk for Clarkton, Missouri, to produce their mammoth 16ft. 3D City Billboard sign. Aspire's nesting features really helped reduce waste and increase profitability with such a large sign, Melissa explains,

"This job was at the time our biggest 3D sign yet. Coming in at 16 ft., we had to ship it via motor freight in two pieces. This sign will easily be legible for over a quarter of a mile."

"It's amazing how you essentially have no limits in Aspire, neither size or scale of your job. For the Clarkton job we were able to set it up and move things around so that we could make the 8ft splice in the middle of the sign, but not land on a single letter or design element! Amazing!"

City of Clarkton Sign
Size: 16ft by 4ft
Material: 1.5" Design Board 15lbs
Finish: Sherwin Williams Super Paint & One Shot Lettering Enamels
CNC Machine: Shopbot 48by96
Modeling Software: Aspire 3
Bits: ½" 90degree vbit, ¼" 60 degree vbit and ¼"end mill



"After upgrading to the most recent release of modeling software; Aspire3, the new features are very welcome, they made an awesome program nearly perfect."

"We at Nice Carvings would like to thank again all of the amazing people in this community on the Vectric forums, and the staff as well. We would not be carving signs for a living if it weren't for you. We would not have worked for Sony Pictures if it weren't for you. We would never have had the opportunity to challenge our minds and create the things that we have created if it weren't for you all... so for that we thank you!"

You can check out many more projects created by Nice Carvings using Vectric's Aspire Software by visiting and

Melissa Jones and Crew
Nice Carvings

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