Introduction: NASA Worm Logo Sign - Inspired by Tom Sachs

Picture of NASA Worm Logo Sign - Inspired by Tom Sachs

For a long time I have liked the themes, ideas and aesthetic style of artist and sculptor Tom Sachs, so I decided I wanted to make a NASA worm logo sign for my workshop. One of Tom's "rules" is that you must not betray the nature of the material you are working with, so he likes to paint plywood before cutting it, leaving the cut edges exposed.

Some of Tom's style and workmanship ideas are outlined in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49p1JVLHUos

In keeping with the style, I made the sign from 1/2" plywood, prepainted with leftover latex wall paint.

This is a fairly easy build and I will go over how I did it now.

Materials:

  • 1/2" plywood
  • 1" #8 flat head wood screws
  • Red and White latex paint
  • Hanging wire

Tools:

  • Bandsaw
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Countersink drill bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood file
  • Table saw (optional)

Step 1: Paint the Plywood

Picture of Paint the Plywood

Painting the plywood is the first step, using a brush or roller. Make sure you paint enough wood to get the sign backing and letters done. I didn't paint enough red wood and had to paint more later.

Step 2: Print and Cut Template

Picture of Print and Cut Template

I printed out a modified NASA worm logotype and cut it out of paper to trace with a pencil, to give me some lines to cut along.

I've included the PNG file in the pictures for this step, you should be able to print it any size you want. I printed mine so each letter was 8.25 inches tall.

I held the template to the wood with painters tape while rough tracing with a pencil.

Step 3: Cut the Letters

Picture of Cut the Letters

Cut the letters out on the bandsaw, following the pencil lines as best you can. Try to keep the straight parts of the letters pretty straight.

Step 4: Sand the Letters

Picture of Sand the Letters

Sand down the edges and take off any tearout on the back that will show against the white background. Be careful to not sand off the red paint on the face of the letters.

Step 5: Drill and Countersink Holes

Picture of Drill and Countersink Holes

Drill holes in the corners and structural points of the letters using a countersink bit, so the screws will sit flush or below the surface of the wood. The more screws the better; NASA always puts in extra screws.

Step 6: Add Hanging Wire

Picture of Add Hanging Wire

If the backing board isn't square or is too big, or just needs adjustment (mine had ugly edges) now is the time to cut it down on a table saw.

For hanging, use two screws partially screwed into the back of the white board as posts to wrap some hanging wire around. Twist the wire around the posts and back around itself so it doesn't come loose. Leave the wire a little slack so it can be easily adjusted to level when hung up.

Step 7: Screw Letters to Backing

Picture of Screw Letters to Backing

Line up the letters and screw the letters onto the backing board with the #8 screws.

Step 8: Hang - All Done!

Picture of Hang - All Done!

Hang it on the wall and be inspired. Well done.

Comments

DanielP581 (author)2017-02-22

why not screwing from behind? that way you could hide the screws

It's part of the utilitarian aesthetic of Tom Sach's work.

John Culbertson (author)2017-02-12

Awesome! Also a big fan of Tom's, great work.

colin353 (author)2017-02-10

Tremendous job.

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