Sign & Digital Graphics

February '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • February 2018 • 67 A BSC Custom crewmember assembles part of the leaf sculpture. The bare metal of the green and yellow leaves that are part of the Littleton Village Outdoor Art Project are ready for more intricate details. BSC Custom in Broomfield, Colorado, fabri- cated and installed the sculpture in Littleton, Colorado. The Fabrication Process The staff identified steel as the best material to use for the components of the sculpture but found shaping the pipes to be a challenge. The pipes had to be bent to compound curves to the perfect radii, a task that couldn't be performed simply by using CNC cutting equipment. To do the work, BSC subcontracted with a California company that had the right equipment for the job. Even though the project was designed in 3D, the staff was not able to build any other parts of the sculpture using the CNC equipment because of the complex- ity of the design. Staff hand-cut the mate- rials for the sculpture with a heavy-duty bandsaw and welded the steel together. "The fabrication methods were simple. It was the detail that was the hard part, getting the pieces to fit together," Dobie says. "Once you add all the curves and angles to an object, it makes it ten times more complicated than a square shape." Every part of the sculpture has bends and curves without any straight lines. The center pole of each leaf tapers toward the top, and the leaves' outer parts have hollowed steel tubing. Inside the leaves, there is additional welded square tubing to represent the veins, giv- ing the internal structure the appearance of a honeycomb, as Dobie described it. "Once that was done, we had to make paper patterns that fit inside the honey- combs and then using a manual plasma cutter, we cut each multi-sided panel to fit perfectly in each space," Dobie says, explaining that some of the panels were solid and others were perforated. Once the panels were fabricated, they were moved to BSC Custom's back lot to have enough space to sandblast them down to the bare metal for better paint adhesion. The panels were then primed and painted in large paint booths using the Matthews Paint brand of acrylic polyurethane paint in the three different colors selected for the project. The Installation Each leaf canopy structure was installed at the park, a project that took two days. The two large leaves for each element of the sculpture had to be constructed in two pieces in order to fit underneath several highway bridges—and then were welded on site by BSC Custom's certified welders. The smaller leaves could fit on a low-bed trailer in one piece. A BSC Custom crewmember stands atop one of the fabricated leaves prior to installation in Littleton Village.

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