In some ways, the Fabrication stage means we’re almost at the end of a project. In other ways, of course, it’s just the beginning of the work. If we’re talking about turning big ideas into big solutions, the Fabrication stage is where the ideas start getting tangible.
The bigger the project, the more involved the Fabrication stage will be. Something like Fullerton Tool Company’s interior environment takes a lot of different materials and different skills to pull together. Let’s look at some specifics.
Take the side tables, for instance. “Don’t furniture stores just sell side tables?” you might wonder. They do, but Fullerton wanted to customize its office as much as possible. That meant everything was up for discussion as a possible branding opportunity, including the tables.
Our craftsmen built the tables from scratch — cutting out metal, welding it together, fitting a clear covering on the top. Why go to all that trouble? We wanted these tables to stand out, and adding the kind of features we had planned meant handling every phase of their fabrication ourselves. The tables’ most noticeable feature is the metal shavings inside the top and center. A nod to Fullerton’s manufacturing work, they help put people in mind of the metal tools and tool parts that Fullerton makes. (Plus, they just look cool.)
We also designed the tables to feature Fullerton’s logo prominently. That meant using our CNC (more on that later) to cut out the logo and then taking it to our paint booth to apply Fullerton’s distinctive red color. That way, the tables supported Fullerton’s brand both subtly (through the shavings) and obviously (with the logo).
“High-Lighting” the Theme
Another decorative element also pointed unsubtly to Fullerton’s mission and line of business. Our designers developed some eye-catching chandeliers for the lobby that look like giant drill bits. With their offset panels, the chandeliers seem to twist just like a drill bit when seen from below.
For that part of the job, we needed to make use of our CNC router. Because its cutting blade drills into the material from above, a CNC can cut things out of the middle of a sheet of material, unlike a regular saw. That makes it perfect for creating a bunch of identical shapes, which is exactly what we needed for the chandeliers.
(Actually, our CNC is even more useful than the average CNC, because it’s a 3D CNC. That means you can program it to cut at variable depths, allowing you to carve a 3D shape out of a block of material. It’s a pretty cool capability, even though we didn’t use it on this project.)
Once we’d cut out all the shapes for the chandelier, we strung the wiring through them and attached the light itself. All together, the chandeliers wound up being almost as tall as a car! You can imagine it took some work to install them. But that’s a story for another time. (Next time, in fact.)
The Spice of Life
But before we move on, we should note that even with all the different types of fabrication the Fullerton job took, it still didn’t use all of our fabrication specialties. It showed our craftsmen’s metalworking skills and their CNC programming chops. We got to use our paint booth and to work with various synthetic solid materials (like the material in the chandeliers). The job even involved printing and cutting some vinyl, as you’ll hear about next time.
But with all that, the project didn’t involve doing some wood-working, or laminating displays with a graphic, or wiring a sign with custom backlighting. That’s not a problem with the Fullerton project, of course, it’s just an indication of how wide a range of skills our craftsmen have. It would be hard to find a job, in fact, that used all of them. Variety is one of the things we love most about our work, and it’s something our clients appreciate too. Since we can handle so many different types of fabrication, our clients don’t have to look for a bunch of different vendors to bring their ideas to life.
Of course, an idea isn’t a solution when the fabrication step is over. Projects just aren’t fully “alive” until we’ve installed them in their final homes. That’s what we’ll talk about next time.