Introduction: Atlanta Skyline

This was my fourth hackathon that I attended this semester. My original plan was to weld, but due to time restrictions in my life as a college student, I ended up having to improvise in my four hour time limit. I decided instead of welding this sign that I would make a wooden painting of the Atlanta skyline. My main plan was to cut a small piece of wood, then spray paint the Atlanta skyline. Then I decided I wanted to burn the words Atlanta into the wood as well as include the coordinates. Overall, the improvisation wasn't perfect, but I learned some new skills that can be handy for future projects.

Materials for skyline sign:

  • Scrap wood (It didn't have to be anything large considering it is just a small piece to go in my dorm.)
  • Sand paper
  • Wood stain
  • Spray paint of choice
  • Potentially a method of cutting the wood (I was in luck since I found a piece suitable for my project.)
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint (I used acrylic.)
  • Laser cutter or wood burner
  • Vinyl printer or some kind of stencil
  • Gloves

Step 1: Selecting and Staining the Wood

I first selected some scrap wood left over from other projects at the lab the hackathon was at. Since the piece of wood I used was approximately 18 cm in length and about 6 cm in height, I decided the only thing the wood needed was a little sanding to smooth it out. I sanded it then moved on to staining. I got a staining cloth and lightly stained the wood and set it to dry.

Step 2: Cutting the Vinyl and Spray Painting

Next, while the stain was drying on the wood, I decided to cut out a vinyl to stick on the wood so I could spray paint with a stencil of the Atlanta Skyline. I had to first select my picture from google images and then make it fit on a prompt which was about 24 cm. Next, I sent it to the vinyl cutter. By the time this process was done, I went back to the stained wood and sanded it down a little to give it a subtly distressed appearance. I then, pealed the vinyl off the backing and stuck the outline onto the wood where I wanted it to be positioned. Next, I used a blue spray paint and sprayed from a distance to give it kind of a messy appearance. I quickly pealed off the vinyl to reveal the clean cut skyline. After I pealed the vinyl away I lightly sprayed some more blue on to continue with the messy vibe and even added a shimmery spray paint and kind of dripped it on so it looked less neat.

Step 3: Laser Cutting and Adding Details

I set up the laser cutter and burned the wood with the word Atlanta in a selected font. Then I burned the coordinates in the selected font and the selected place. Unfortunately, I tried to go over these letters to darken them only to realized that it shifted a little and messed up the wording on my work. I quickly stopped the laser cutter before it got to the coordinates to salvage them. I ended up have to once again improvise by painting over the mistake and writing it out in the same font. Needless to say, it required a rather steady hand. I also added some stars to the skyline to add detail. At this point the time was up and I was finished.

Overall, I thought the project, regardless of the improvisations that occurred, came out decent. I like it a lot and will be hanging it in my room for decoration. Hopefully, I'll be able to weld for my next project. I think that next time I use the laser cutter I have learned to only do it once and not to go over it. I will also hopefully will have the time to learn how to weld before the next hackathon. If I were to continue on this project, I would probably try to redo the laser cutting and maybe fix some of the painting on the project.