Material for 3d carved signs, and where to get it?

Brent Dowell

Staff member
Reno NV
Thinking about making a couple of 3d carved projects on the CNC that would be outdoor signs.

Just wondering what kind of wood, and or other material folks use for that sort of application, and if theres any good online sources for them?

I do not make outdoor signs out of wood .

I use HDU - High Density Urethane.

It does not

Impervious to weather
Paints well
Light weight
extremely easy to work with
Like cutting air on the CNC machine

I use Benjamin Moore Aura exterior paint

I set up a business account at a local sign store that sells ONLY to businesses

Precision Board
Oh lots of others that I cannot remember

Oh I dunno - there are more reasons I do it this way but I cannot think of them at this moment
There was a really nice forum some years ago - 3D Sign Forum with a bunch of professional sign makers that I was part of - learned a TON
I also attended a Sign Camp and learned from sign makers, Movie Prop makers, and Imagination Corporation owner Dan Sawatsky
Thanks guys! Those sound like good options. Let me look around a bit now that I know what it's called and I'll see what I can find.
I went ahead and ordered some of that hdu from interstatehdu to just have some samples and see how it works. Thanks again!
As suggested, Corian is excellent and usually very reasonable. Cut-outs sometimes free. But, if you want wood, I suggest basswood as the most workable. There is a major supplier in Wisconsin. A Google search might find him. If not, I'll ask a friend in our local wood carving club for his name, he comes to the local wood carving show here once a year. I have bought some of his wood and it is beautiful. Clear, almost pure white, and carves beautifully without tear-outs.
Precision Board is what Dan Sawatsky uses. He uses 30 # exclusively. He makes millions of dollars and he can afford it. It is really hard as HDU goes - still really easy to work with. The 15 pound Precision Board, in my opinion is more then adequate.

I use 18# and 15# Signfoam. Different brand but still good stuff.

I am just finishing up a sign and in process of making a youtube vid of the full process from start to finish.
Right now the folder for that project is about 300 GB and I am still loading all the movies from 3 cameras I set up plus some from my cell phone.

I have used Corian as well but not to make an entire sign.
I love working with Corian, Paints really well and you can carve reat detail into it.
I am just finishing up a sign and in process of making a youtube
Awesome. I need to go check out some of your other videos now that I can actually use the information. Thanks Leo!

With the temperature it's going to be out side today, I have a feeling I'm going to be doing most F360 and Vectric work today, along with watching tutorials and videos on You tube.
I am going to take a little different approach on this new video to try to make it a little more cinematic.

I also wanted to say that when I went to Indiana to an intensive sign camp and working with the real pros, there was a company rep from Precision board and lots of the primers, fillers and other products there. I may buy some of the products from interstate because the products are so good.

I am on the Vectric Forum every day like I am here. If you post there, I can maybe help. I can help here as well, but lots of the folk there are far more talented than I am.

The new video will be --- Making the Thistle Cottage sign.
Gonna take me some time to make the video - 60 hours or so.