Introduction: House Number

Picture of House Number

This is a semi art deco style house number/address made from laser cut wood.

It is an affordable, practical, safe, and fun project for people of any age.

While the design I use is art deco style, my intention is to simply demonstrate a concept of how you can implement your own interests and ideas into creating a house number that is your own.

Although a laser cutter is used as a tool, an awesome design can be achieved using other tools and the same theory.

I hope you will modify my design to reflect yourself and share pictures with me.
-Dylan Morrow

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

House Sign:

1'x2'  .25" Thick Scrap Oak Wood Sheet
1'x2'  .125" Thick Birch Wood Sheet
Wood Glue - Elmer's Brand
Acrylic Silver Metallic Paint
Small Paint Brush
Small Foam Brush
Cleaning Rag
3" x 3" 150 - 400 Grit Sandpaper
2x 3" Length Cement Mounting Screws
2x Cement Mounts

Optional: Clear Spray or Paint On Polyurethane (Adult Supervision Recommended)

Tools:
Laser Cutter (Capable of Cutting Through .25" Wood, Bed Size Minumum of 6" x 6")
Electric Drill
.25" Drill Bit
Screwdriver
 
 

Step 2: Conceptual Design and Laser Cutter Files

Picture of Conceptual Design and Laser Cutter Files

I created the design entirely in Inkscape (freeware vector program) using units and document properties in inches.
If you have not used Inkscape, look up some videos on the basics because that's all that's needed.

Document properties should reflect your laser cutter's bed size so you will find my document file below to be 1' x 2'.
.001 inch stroke tells the laser cutter to cut as opposed to etch.

Remember the design included below is just a style I like. You can modify the shape, text, and garnishments to your preference.
You can even use other materials such as plastics on the laser cutter.

(Note: I use a free custom font called Market Deco, but in my actual design I forgot to bring a copy of the font with me so ended up having to use Arial. Don't make my mistake and save a PDF while on your own computer.)




Step 3: Laser Cutting

Picture of Laser Cutting

The .125" thick piece of birch wood is used as the front for all pieces because of it's quality appearance, while the .25" thick wood I found from scrap will not be visible in the final design. 

All wood was cut using a 40 W laser cutter at the Fab Lab in Tulsa, OK.

1. Insert the .25" thick wood sheet into your laser cutter and load your file from a PDF

2. Adjust power and speed settings for .25" thick wood

3. Run the file and remove the pieces shown in the second picture

4. Insert the .125" thick wood sheet into laser cutter and load same PDF

5. Readjust power and speed settings for .125" thick wood

6. Run the file and remove the pieces shown in the second picture

Step 4: Assembly: Initial Wood Glue

Picture of Assembly: Initial Wood Glue

This is the first stage of applying wood glue before painting the assembled pieces.

1. Using a thin layer of wood glue, attach each corresponding pieces of the .125" wood to the .25" wood while providing pressure

2. Repeat for each matching corresponding piece

3. Wipe excess glue from edges immediately

4. Allow glue to dry while applying constant pressure


Step 5: Assembly: Painting

Picture of Assembly: Painting

Now the glued pieces are ready to be painted (except the backboard) before being wood glued to the backboard.

1. Using the small bristle brush and the acrylic silver paint, paint the front and sides of all pieces. Notice the burn marks from the laser cut require a thicker coat to cover with paint.

(Note: Thin layers of paint applied in multiple coats will provide the best metallic finish)

2. Let the paint become mildy dry and apply one or two more coats. 

3. Clean paint globs out of crevices using the tip of rag.




Step 6: Assembly: Final Wood Glue

Picture of Assembly: Final Wood Glue

Now after the paint pieces have dried they can be glued onto the backboard. 

1. Place wood glue on back of all painted pieces and place into position
Note: It is important to align pieces correctly upon initial impression so wood glue is not smeared on backboard.

2. Apply sufficient pressure to pieces to ensure proper adhesion. Use clamps if available

3. Remove excess glue around edges before glue is able to dry

4. Repeat for all pieces

5. Allow glue sufficient time to dry while applying constant pressure 

Optional: Apply 2 coats of spray polyurethane

Step 7: Mounting Sign

Picture of Mounting Sign

You are now ready to mount the sign in the front of your house.

If you are mounting into brick or cement you can follow my method.
If you are mounting into wood you can follow my method minus the concrete mounts.

1. Drill .25" holes about 3" deep into brick/concrete 7" apart aligned horizontally

2. Insert concrete mounts into drilled holes

3. Place screws partially into sign and align holes with concrete mounts

4. Using drill (not shown) drill screws into concrete mounts

Step 8: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

Now you have a house number that reflects yourself or family.
Hopefully the project taught you something new and/or was a fun and creative journey.

Remember the possibilities for modifying the provided design are endless.

Enjoy the project and please share pictures of what you come up with!

I am hoping to have a laser cutter of my own to run a small business while also allowing any individuals to use while only charging maintenance costs.

-Dylan Morrow

Comments

kayakdiver (author)2013-07-18

This looks so good I simply had to take a closer look. The outer border has a cool mechanical pattern that reminded me of a fancy motorcycle sprocket, and the inside has a more organic pattern - a nice combination that works well here.

Not to detract from your design, but one additional step could also be to attach small wood discs to the house,then glue the numbers assembly to the discs, thereby hiding the screws and making people wonder how you accomplished the attachment.

Now all I need is a laser cutter! ;~)

juliblue (author)2013-07-21

Love this!!

Eh Lie Us! (author)2013-07-19

When I first saw the thumbnail, I honestly thought that it was metal. Good job man. Great pix too.

emma.banks (author)2013-07-16

It is nice, I like it. However it is sad you did not centre it on the pillar ;)

lamerc (author)emma.banks2013-07-19

Nah, I really like the placement. (The light isn't centered; it works. :)

Beautiful work!

oktex (author)2013-07-18

Very nice work!
I love the design and steps...amazing what a laser cutter can do!
Tip:
If you want to fill the holes from previous install you can use colored grout and fix them so no one can tell. Just get hydraulic cement and a bottle of liquid color from one of the box stores. Mix in measured proportions (what you think will resemble proper shading) on an old brick or scrap wood, allow to dry and adjust your color till you get it right. Play with the texturing a bit and no one will be able to see the repair.

BrownDesign (author)2013-07-18

Really? This is what you choose to comment about? The instructable was great. The result was beautiful. And there could be a thousand reasons for mounting it off center.

pstrauss1 (author)2013-07-18

All I can think of is Bioshock. Very nice indeed.

delorayn (author)2013-07-18

You should consider making this and selling on ebay :)

graydog111 (author)2013-07-18

I looked on eBay and found this laser cutter for $4000.00.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CNC-laser-cutter-laser-engraver-24x36-high-quality-free-shipment-hot-sale-/130856506802

pmn9393 (author)2013-07-17

Nice. Reminds me of bioshock.

adillbeck (author)pmn93932013-07-18

My first thought too...
After a quick Google image search, I can say that it is very Bioshock.
I might have to get the guys downstairs to make me one.

prmorrow (author)2013-07-17

I would like to make this!

jessyratfink (author)2013-07-15

Absolutely beautiful work! :D

discovery3 (author)jessyratfink2013-07-16

Thanks Jesse, it was really awesome writing an instructable for this. Hope to have more cool projects coming up!

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