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Deer Caught in the Spotlight

(June 2014) posted on Tue Jun 24, 2014

A faux trophy head is designed to stand out among a restaurant’s current décor.

click an image below to view slideshow

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

The shapes were then imported into Adobe Illustrator to prepare them for production. The information from the 3D model was converted to cut-path information for the Zünd, and the pieces were arranged to fit as efficiently as possible onto 4 x 8-foot sheets of Sintra. With the page layout set, images of street signs (most sourced from stock imagery) were overlaid and we created a print-ready PDF.

At the same time, we created two additional PDFs – one as a proof for our production department, and another PDF with assembly instructions that would be shipped with the kits. Normally, we would have the client sign off on a final proof at this point, but since this was such a unique project we created an actual prototype for them to approve.

Taking Advantage of Direct Print

We were now ready for production. Our design department sent the PDFs to our Onyx Thrive RIP, which added registration marks and sent print files to our EFI Vutek PressVu 200/600 SC flatbed, with matching cut files to the Zünd. We have faster printers in-house that are capable of printing to vinyl, but by printing the graphics directly onto the Sintra, we were able to get a more durable product – plus, the time saved by not having to laminate and apply the vinyl makes up for much of the time when producing something like this in bulk.

Finishing: The First Cut is the Deepest

After printing, we had sets of two sheets of graphics on Sintra: a 6mm sheet for the deer pieces, and a 13mm sheet for the base components, both ready to go to the Zünd for cutting. There are multiple router-bit options for cutting Sintra, but we had to be sure to pick the same one we used to determine our shapes (see Step 3), so that everything fit as planned.

Assembly, Install, and Video

The pieces to one set were packaged (kitted) with the set of PDF instructions and readied for shipping. According to our stopwatch, one person can assemble the kit in about 10 minutes, and we routed out guide holes in the base to show where to attach the z-clips for mounting to the wall. Along the way, however, we learned that the assembly would be easier if the pieces were held a certain way, so we recorded a video of one sign being assembled in our shop and posted it online to give installers in the field every resource possible to easily get the job done.

So far, we’ve produced two completed deer heads to Red Robin, and they’ve added these to two of their remodeled stores. Our involvement is projected over the next couple of years – the restaurant chain has about 460 units, and they could all end up with one of these (although full coverage isn’t guaranteed).

Equipment and Supplies Used

Hardware & Software: EFI Vutek PressVu 200/600 SC printer, Zünd G3 digital cutting system, Adobe Illustrator, McNeel Rhino 5 modeling software, Onyx Thrive RIP
Materials: Sintra PVC, z-clips
Tools and miscellaneous: Screwdriver, screws

Shane Furey is operations manager for bluemedia ( in Tempe, Arizona.