At Pinnacle Autosound we are almost always up for a new challenge. Not too long ago we were posed with an interesting project by a landscape architectural firm. The firm was putting together a project for the Mission Nombre De Dios in St. Augustine. The project was to make wood panels for the new Rosary Garden at the Mission. The panels would attach to aluminum frames that a metal fabrication company were making. Each panel has verses that are associated with the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
We work with a lot of materials when building things for cars and boats. One thing we weren’t sure about, though, was the best material for use in the outdoor setting. After consulting with a local woodworker and cabinet maker, we ended up settling on cypress. We were told that wood would age gracefully and stand up to the elements. One thing we had to check, though, was how well it reacted to being laser engraved. After we ran a test sample we found that it engraved beautifully. We worked together with the project engineer and the metal fabrication company to come up with the optimal size for the panels. The next challenge was sourcing the amount of wood needed for this project. After calling around to a number of suppliers we finally found a company that had what we needed.
With the details on the project nailed down, it was time to get to work. The first step in the process of making the panels was to plane the wood down to thinner, uniform thickness. This would allow us to precisely engrave and cut the wood panels. To expedite the planing process we once again turned to our cabinet maker friend. He was able to take the boards and plane them down for us.
Moving forward in the project it was time to laser cut and engrave the panels. Because we wanted the contrast of the darker lasered wood, with the lighter wood, we not only used the laser to engrave the text, but also cut the panels. There were going to be a total of sixteen panels for the Mysteries, along with 2 additional panels for a stone grotto.
To make the accuracy of the lasering process as precise as possible, we setup a jig on our laser bed, so each board could be placed and cut with exactness. Once the jig was setup we started the process of lasering the panels. The engraving part took quite a while, because the laser head has to move back and forth over the surface, much like an old dot matrix printer.
When the sixteen Mystery panels were finished, we moved on to the two grotto panels, and finally the construction of four square frames that would trim off the tops of the rock foundations for the metal panel frames.
After each panel was engraved and cut, we cleaned up the engraving residue by sanding each panel with fine sandpaper. It was then time to once again call in the help of our cabinet friend. We did not have a space large enough to handle laying out all of the pieces and spraying them with the protective top coat, but our cabinet friend did. He did an excellent job in laying down a glass smooth finish on the panels.
There was a lot of work and preparation that led to the installation day for the panels. All of the panels, necessary tools, and cleanup supplies were loaded up and the trip was made to beautiful St. Augustine. The installation process for the panels was to use the laser cut acrylic jig we made to drill the mounting holes in the aluminum frames. Then each of the holes were tapped for the 10-24 stainless steel bolts that would hold the panels to the frames. We lined the perimeter of the frames with bolts to help ensure the wood did not warp over time. After prepping the metal frames, we installed the square frames, and then we then began the process of bolting on all the panels. All four panels were loosely bolted on the frames and then each one carefully tightened in place. This allowed the panels to sit evenly and helped make up for any slight differences in the sides of the metal frames. The two larger panels for the grotto were installed using construction adhesive, as they were attaching to a stone base.
Cleanup and A Job Well Done
It was long day, but all the panels were able to be installed in one day. The final step was cleaning up the metal shavings and wiping down all of the wood panels. The Diocese representative and the engineering contractor both loved the panels and were excited to debut them and the beautiful new Rosary Garden.
While we won’t always say yes to every project, we like a challenge. If you need some custom fabrication work, stop by for a chat or contact us online.