ArtCAM was recently able to rescue Officials of the City of Dearborn, Michigan, USA, after they had decided to honour the City’s war veterans with a new memorial. The memorial was scheduled for unveiling on Veteran’s Day but a series of delays in creating the design meant that the signmakers only received approval three weeks before the ceremony.

The war veteran memorial

The memorial depicted a large eagle clutching the Great Seal of the USA and the insignia of all five combat services – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. While work was started on hand carving the Great Seal, signmaker Mark Maness went about creating the five insignia in ArtCAM. These were scanned into the computer and converted into three-dimensional models. Upon approval, the models were used to create toolpaths for machining using a Gerber Sabre 408 router.

Even though he was a newcomer to computer-aided machining, Mr. Maness was able to use the software with minimal training. "I learned it as I went along," he said. "It was pretty straightforward." The key benefit ArtCAM gave was the high-quality surface finish. This was so good that hand finishing was eliminated. "If we had had to sand the five plaques before we painted them, we could never have met the deadline," said Mr. Maness. "The difference between the hand-carved Great Seal plaque and the service insignia plaques is quite visible."The improved quality has been seen in subsequent projects. When it comes to signmaking, this department is unstoppable now, claimed Mr. Maness. All my ideas about 2D and 3D creativity are changing. There’s nothing we can’t do. Also, Dearborn’s signmaking costs are lower, compared with hand carving. The man-hours needed have been cut significantly."