Brian Quinter is a passionate sign maker from Piqua, Ohio where he runs the award winning company Quint Creative Signs that he founded back in 2000. For this month's case study we got in touch with Brian to learn more about his experience within the sign industry, his use of CNC software and hardware, the production of his recent award winning sign and then showcase a variety of his other projects.
Brian begins by telling us more about what motivated him to start his own business and why he decided to add CNC routing to his already impressive list of services.
"Throughout my career I have always enjoyed looking at 3D signs, yet I constantly had the desire to make even cooler ones. I knew that in order to make signs of that calibre I would need a CNC machine, especially after I saw one first hand at a trade show. Unfortunately at that point in time I had just invested in some wide format printers, so I was unable purchase one. Due to this, if I had a job that needed the help of a CNC I had to outsource it or even cut what I needed freehand with jig saws, circular saws and panel saws. Things changed for the better though in 2010 when my business was eligible for a USDA-funded Rapid Outreach Revolving Loan! It's safe to assume that I used this loan to purchase my CNC router and software."
"After researching a number of brands of CNC machines, I decided to purchase an AXYZ Camtech Z7 router after seeing one being demonstrated at an NBM show in Indianapolis. Now that I had the machine, I needed software that I could do both 2D and 3D design in. I researched several different programs and narrowed it down to a few. I then watched several of the free Aspire tutorial videos online and noticed some really useful features, plus the training videos made everything look so easy to do with the software."
"Despite other software being available from Vectric, I knew their flagship product Aspire was the version that I wanted. While most of my work can be done in VCarve pro, there is that extra ability to incorporate 3D elements into my work that Aspire allows me to do, plus the price difference between the two meant the decision was a no brainer."
"As CNC software was totally new to me and my design software background is CorelDRAW, I do still find myself using Corel as my primary design software. Aspire works extremely well with the files I export from Corel and vice versa, Corel works well with files I export from Aspire. When I import my 2D files into Aspire I spend very little time getting it ready to run to the CNC. I am also very amazed how quickly I can get into the 3D options and turn a flat piece of artwork that I designed in Corel into a real 3D piece in Aspire."
Now that Brian had his new CNC machinery and software, he was able to go on to produce a number of fantastic signs, including one that won 1st place in the United States Sign Councils Sign Design Competition for a free standing sign. We asked Brian to tell us more about the award winning sign, as well as a few other impressive projects he managed to create with his CNC and Vectric software.
PURK Automotive Award Winning Sign
“This sign was originally designed in CorelDRAW, however getting the parts into Aspire was stupid easy.”
“For this particular sign the letters are machined face down and I predrilled all the stud locations on both the letters and the panels. Following this I installed the stainless studs by heating them up with a torch and pushing them into my slightly under sized hole for a permanent bond to the stud.”
“On this project I actually used oversized nuts as spacers for each letter. The studs were then nutted on the backsides of the panels to hold each letter in place.”
“All the letters in the sign as well as the wrenches were cut in PVC and them
primed and painted.”
“I used treated lumber under PVC post covers and I free hand notched the posts so that the wrenches floated in the centre of the panels.”
“All the background panels are printed vinyl. I printed the vinyl with a 1/4" bleed and a gloss laminate, then wrapped the cut pieces and trimmed the vinyl to the edge. The customer was thrilled with the sign.”
Weave Showcase Piece
"I was very excited to learn about the new version of Vectric's Aspire software I use for the CNC Router because it comes with the new 'Extrude & Weave' feature. It's very fun to use and allows me to create pretty wild weaved patterns in seconds! On the T Sign Panel in the picture, the background of the sign was created using the weave tool. I was shooting for a basket weaved look on this example panel.
The panel was machined into a 1″ thick piece of HDU and then hand painted. It is going to be used as part of the new wall display that shows different types of 3D lettering/sign work that I can do.
I can only imagine the wild textures and other effects that I can now include into my sign work. Exciting!"
Free Standing Sub Division Sign
This was an interesting project that replaced an old sign at the same location that was hit by a car.
It was machined out of 1" PVC with which I used a mix of One Shot lettering enamels and Sherwin Williams Oil Based Enamels for the finish. The entire sign was hand painted.
Multi-tenant Sign with Wood Grain Texture
"This Multi-Tenant sign was designed and installed knowing that each tenant panel had to be interchangeable in case a tenant leaves a building and a new one moves in.
This sign features carved PVC panels with a wood grain effect to give the look of a sandblasted cedar/redwood sign. Adding the texture to the background of a sign definitely adds more visual interest. It's also a very simple effect to create if you use Vectric Aspire's texture toolpath feature.
To give the post a wider look and squarer corners I made custom post covers. I also added a flute effect on three sides of the posts that measure 6″x6″. Each panel was primed then hand painted."
3D Raised Graphic & Letter Sign
"I always find that 3D signs are the most fun to make. This one used a pretty simple effect to create an awesome 3D appearance.
I layered two sheets of sign substrates together to make the background, and then I cut each letter separately and very thick to make the wording stand out of the sign. The icon was then given the appearance of floating off the background. I did this by installing spacers behind it, then concealing my screw caps on the front of the icon."
Quint Creative Sign
"Finding time to make your own sign is always hard, but I had a lot of fun working on this project whenever I got a chance to between jobs.
I started by creating the banner at the base of the sign and then VCarving the text into it. I even did something cool with the banner and actually bent the plastic on the ends to give the effect that the ribbon is waving. After this I also cut out the chisel, paintbrush and palette and painted them all at the same time.
Finally I started work on the main panel by running a 2D toolpath to create the background. As the main panel of the sign was 1″ PVC, I removed 0.6″ of the material to get the depth I wanted. I also did a step down on the outline of the "SIGNS" text and trimmed the edge with a VCarve bit to finish it off. You can see the different steps in the image (second, left).
Finally I primered and painted the background with a black smalt background. This is an old technique that adds texture and some twinkle to the background. Other than the smalt material, the entire sign panel was hand painted. The colors picked make the word "SIGNS" pop out to make sure you don't miss it when you drive by!"
Simple Carved Sign for Municipal Building
"This 2-sided sign was VCarve in 1″ PVC which was flipped to carve both sides. To carve the text and border we used a 90 degree V Bit and then an end mill for the flat areas.
The sign was installed by the client, but we supplied if fully painted and with tan PVC post sleeves.
One of the best things about this job is that because we used Vectric's Aspire software, we were able to give the client a 3D view of the sign before we carved it for their approval."
"I don't know how I ever managed without Aspire and my CNC. It was a very wise investment for my business; I have fun every time I get to use it. I also love the freedom of being able to incorporate wide format printing into the 3D signs I am creating as well as being able to use CorelDRAW and Vectric together to make my designs a reality.""
"Being in the sign business means there are always new projects ahead. My goal is to try to and take some of these projects further than my past projects. Try to outdo myself on past projects and improve my skills. It is truly a profession where you can never learn enough and I want to drive myself to always improve my work and what I am building for my clients."
We would like to thank Brian for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to share more information about his experience, business and impressive signage. We look forward to seeing what he goes on to produce next.
If you want to learn more about Quint Creative Designs, or would like to follow Brian's work, then we have provided links below to his home page and Facebook page for your reference.
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