Custom Fabricated Awards
Custom fabricated awards, as their name implies, are awards that are fabricated, or “constructed”, one award at a time. Unlike sculpture awards, they are not produced using a traditional casting process, where liquefied metal or resin is poured into a mold that was formed using an original model.
The methodology used to create custom fabricated awards varies based on a number of factors, including the award design, award material, and the quantity of awards being produced. For example, metal fabricated awards may be produced using lasers, waterjets, machine tools like lathes and milling machines, or machine centers controlled by sophisticated CNC (computer numerical control) systems. Wood fabricated awards may be hand carved, or constructed using woodworking machinery. Glass fabricated awards are usually produced using traditional glass blowing techniques.
Many of the custom fabricated awards we produce require precise measurements, so, in these cases, initial files used to guide the production may need to be prepared using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Others may be of a more organic, free-form nature, and hand-drawn images or sketches may work fine as the guide for these awards.
Custom Fabricated Awards: Detailed Information
When deciding on the most appropriate technique to create custom awards, there are a variety of factors we consider in order to try and create the perfect custom award for your needs. Listed below of some of the variables that may steer your custom award project in the direction of fabricated awards.
Precise Specifications and/or Measurements
If your custom awards require extremely precise dimensions, details or consistency, fabricated awards may be the best option to achieve this. Sculpture awards created using a casting process have more inter-award variability than awards that are fabricated using design software combined with machine tools. For example, we produced a custom award for the Missile Defense Agency that needed to conform to extremely precise specifications. Creating a custom fabricated award using CAD software and a sophisticated milling machine was the best way to produce this award. Another award we created for the Mirror Mirror Urban Recognition Awards required precise detailing on the surface of the award: custom recessed text and images that needed to be consistent across every award. Again, creating a fabricated award was the best route to produce these awards.
When custom awards require the incorporation of different materials (metal and glass, for example), fabricated awards are generally the best suited for this purpose. Certain elements of the award may be cast, but other award components will likely need to be fabricated, and these awards are usually hand-assembled in order to combine the different materials. The fabricated glass awards that we created for ReaderLink are a good example of this. The glass components of the awards were hand-blown using custom colors based on ReaderLink’s logo, while the custom bases used to support the glass pieces were fabricated out of steel. Another example is the fabricated awards we created for the WBS World Billfishing Championship, which combined steel, aluminum, resin and fiberglass.
Awards Incorporating Existing Objects
It is not uncommon for us to create custom awards that incorporate existing objects that are meaningful to the organization or individual commissioning the award. For example, we created custom fabricated awards for Roush Yates that incorporated the actual PSI intake valve that came out of the car that Matt Kenseth used to win the Daytona 500. Likewise, we created custom fabricated awards for Duke Energy that incorporated an actual turbine.
Unique Paints and Coatings
While most sculpture awards can be painted or patinated to create a variety of unique colors on their surface, if exact color specifications need to be applied to the award, fabricated awards may present the best alternative. Awards cut from metal, for example, can support a variety of paint and powder coating finishes at an affordable price point. A custom award we created for SugerRush shows how vibrant some of these colors can be.
Specific Award Materials
Some materials, such as wood or glass, don’t lend themselves to traditional casting processes. If you want to create custom awards using these materials, fabricated custom awards will be your best (and perhaps only) option. Most often, custom awards based on these materials will be handcrafted one award at a time. These handcrafted fabricated awards can feature incredible detail and artistry: for example, the custom awards we created for the Caribbean Premier League feature wood from a mahogany tree hard-carved to look like intertwined roots from the West Indian Swamp Blood Tree, an indigenous tree meaningful to the organization.
Certain shapes and sizes may lend themselves to being fabricated rather than cast. Precise cylindrical shapes, for example, may be easier to create using fabricated methods than sculpting and casting. One example that showcases this is the custom fabricated awards we created for the Under Armour All-America Game.
If a client wants to create custom metal awards on a tight budget, fabricated awards may offer a more affordable price point than sculpture awards. The sculpture casting process requires many steps, including the creation of a model, mold, the actual casting, and then the final finishing work, so sculpture awards may not fit a client’s tight budget requirements. In most cases, we can create fabricated metal awards that can deliver a similar effect at a lower price point.