Ye Olde Worke: so my boss was throwing out this wretched, obnoxiously bright green, mini light box – and somehow I thought I would be able use it. Somehow. However no matter what color graphics I used, it would always come out color shifted towards green. So I needed to keep within the green spectrum, but what? Leprechaun? Too Irish. Forest? Too generic. Money? Just awful. I couldn’t think of anything decent that I wanted. And then I remembered, as a youth I really liked the Hulk. And so it was.
Because our printer is only capable of printing one layer of ink, no matter what image I used, if printed it would get washed out and just look meh. So I decided to use resistance of light by layering vinyl, essentially creating grayscale; the more layers I used the more points I could play with (ie, 3 layers would translate to 0%, 50%, 100%; 4 would be 0/33/66/100, and so on). So I started to test a few vinyls to see which combined well when layered on them selves; the first logical guess was a translucent vinyl meant for just this purpose. But like the next 4+ vinyls I tested, they had little to no noticeable gradations, yet after layer 4 or 5, they just went black.
Finally I tested straight up 3M 7125 cast white. Nothing fancy, run on the mill. Worked like a charm.
So then the dilemma became art. I hunted around and found pretty much the ideal graphic for the job: an interestingly grotesque rendering of angry Bruce, with two key factors: high res, with a posterized limited color spectrum. Downside? Even when grayscaled, it was still like 10 or 11 layers, which would mean 10 or 11 layers of cutting, weeding and taping. So I experimented with merging and was able to boil it down to maybe seven layers.
And cutting, weeding, and taping was helacious. Not to mention that before it was even finalized and cut, each layer needed to start as a distinct graphic, but then get merged with every layer darker than it, such that the lightest layer had two holes (again, corneas), and it went down first. The second to lightest layer had two holes, minus whatever else it needed. The third two holes, minus the second layers requirements, minus it’s requirements, and so on.
The darkest parts have a full seven layers, while the lightest parts (his corneas) had none. That also meant that near perfect alignment was needed when they were layed down, or else it would look blurry.
The result is pretty awesome when you can appreciate all that nerd stuff, and it’s still pretty cool even that was all jiberish.
While I was able to nail this project first try, that try took 4-6 months of (admittedly passive) calculations to get it there. I tend to sit on my idears and really flush out all the variables until it all makes sense, and then jump into actually making / attempting / welding / baking / whatever.
PS. These photos were all taken today, in my shop, years after I completing that thing; you can tell by all the saw dust that it’s been there a while.