Saturday, 21 May 2016

Never: Making a Cabinet Stencil

After some much needed direction with the cabinet artwork, I decided to take on advice given and go down the route of stencilling the artwork onto the cabinet.

I've had absolutely no experience in spraying stencil art, so need to do some playing around. Well I did a bit of spray paint application to a drum kit I sanded down way back in 2010 - but still nothing with stencils.

Spray paint testing/playing

Sugar Artists' Acrylic
After some pondering, I opted for Sugar Artists' Acrylic brand of spray paints. I was totally sold on the ethic and the benefits of low smell in my tiny studio space!

As I said, it will be the first time using these types of spray paints, and I notice the difference with the spray caps already, they are not these rubbish ones you get with spray paints from the hardware shop.

Paper - handcut

Paper - lasercut

Acetate - handcut

Masking Tape - handcut

Vinyl - lasercut
I tested this on a scrap of painted wood, to test the adhesive. But forgot to take a photo sorry! It worked fine, like a cross between paper and acetate.

In the meantime I had been finishing the playfield artwork so could visualise in 3D software Blender, how the final may look with a few different developments of the cabinet artwork.

After previous iterations of the design, I moved on from the large logo on the side. Realising that the logo would be quite heavily used throughout the machine anyway.

This was a chance to really highlight the symbols, I want to spark some retro nostalgia of pinball to draw people in, when they get close they will realise that something is a little different than expected.

1. Simple
2. Diamonds / lines
3. Bleed
4. Circles
Taking some inspiration from classic pinball machines I went with a base of yellow and one colour. The simplicity of this sits beside the full colour playfield, but also highlights two of the main colours present.

For reference I started looking at quite a few woodrail pinball machines this era is mainly flipperless bagatelle style in the 1950's which is a lot earlier than the styles I was mainly focussing on of 70s/80s pinball. There is something much more craft like about these wood rails, and I really like that over the hard chrome metal edges or plastic aesthetic of more modern machines.

I asked opinions of different people, which option from the four above they preferred, and although a real mixed bag of opinions I knew they diamonds/lines version was the right choice, keeping these references to classic pinball.

Making the Stencil
After my tests, I came to the conclusion that there was no need to over engineer the stencils. Sticking with paper was the best option all round, proving the most successful results.

Lasercut paper stencils - another bonus is they are easily transportable
However the question of handcutting vs lasercutting was a no brainer at this stage. I was not going to be able to pull off handcutting to any great level. The issue is really translating the large design onto the material to be cut so I opted for the precision of lasercut again. Not only does it give me pin point accurate results quickly, it corresponds to the lasercut playfiield, tying everything nicely together.

Applying the stencil

Learning from advice given during a tutorial with Oli Timmins, I used repositionable spray tack on the back of the stencil to keep it in place and as tight to the cabinet as possible to keep the underspray/blowout around the edges to a minimum. Although I quite like some!

Couldn't be happier with how things are coming together, just wish there was slightly more hours in the day. Lots of all nighters this week! Need sleep please.

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