Featured Project: Steampunk Design Elements

These steampunk model prototypes are available for purchase by visiting his Facebook page.

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This featured project comes to us from Orange, California-based Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU used in the signage and tooling industries.

Coastal sent SDG this story about one of its customers, Doug Haffner.

“Do you want to add some spice to your dimensional sign design, but don’t have the time to create new 3D models? Doug Haffner of Haffner’s Fantastic Creations has put together a library of steampunk design elements for 3D signs. He uses the design elements to fabricate dimensional steampunk creations, including signs, doors and even name plaques like this recent one created using Precision Board HDU. Doug let us in on how he creates such fantastic looking dimensional Precision Board signs.

“I get a lot of requests for plaques with family names on them. This particular couple really liked steampunk, so I used one of the designs from my new collection,” says Haffner. He saved time by having the 3D template ready to go and then was able to customize it using it as the base and swapping out elements to make it look unique.

The name plate was carved using PBLT-30. Doug used one piece of 30lb material, 24″ x 15″ x 2″ thick. He used a ½” ball nose for the roughing pass and a 1/8″ ball nose for the finishing pass.

“The benefit of using Precision Board is that it allows me to focus on the design and the outcome of the piece and not worry about what I’m using as the substrate material.” He adds, “One of the tremendous things about carving in the higher density HDU is that you are carving a really dense material that will hold the detail and you don’t have to worry about things like a change of grain direction or knots.”

Doug started building these 3-D steampunk models as a library for himself, but then realized this was something he had been looking for, but hadn’t found. “I thought that other people would like something like this that they could use,” says Haffner. He had seen Dan Sawatzky selling texture designs and thought steampunk designs would make a good collection.

Doug says that some people think steampunk is just a lot of gears, but it’s bigger than that. “The whole concept is imagining a world where instead of electricity taking over, steam is the primary power source.” He adds, “sometimes my elements are mechanical and sometimes they are Victorian. I try to shoot for a mix of both with brass, wood and copper elements.”

You can purchase Doug’s “Steampunk Elements Volume 1” at

tony kindelspire oct21

Tony Kindelspire

Tony Kindelspire is the digital content editor for RV PRO magazine. He was the former digital content editor of Sign & Digital Graphics & WRAPS magazines.

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