Shut The Front Door

Last time, I mentioned that our front door is going to be extra special. At some point when we were talking to maker Marc Reeve-Newson about making the door, he mentioned that he had some special glow-in-the-dark resin that could be installed into grooves in the door. If we sent him a design, he could have a CNC1 machine cut the grooves and then he could apply the resin and our front door would glow in the dark.

Coming up with a design for the glowing lines was a challenge. At first I came up with an intricate drawing full of delicate curves and curlicues. It also said “Speak Friend And Enter” in fancy Lord Of The Rings font because I’m an unoriginal nerd.  Even though I used a lot of clipart, it took hours to get the look I was going for.

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After some discussion with Marc, though, it became clear that the CNC would not have been able to properly etch those delicate shapes. Char also pointed out the organic shapes I had created would not fit with the modernist aesthetic we had been applying to the rest of the house.  So I went back to the drawing board and whipped up something sort of in the style of Mondrian or Frank Lloyd Wright.  Lots of thick, bold lines that the machine could cut more easily.  Compared to the hours I spent on the first design, I banged this one out in probably half an hour.
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After some back and forth and small adjustments, we had a design that worked. And now we can see the (almost) finished result:

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The door, with CNC carvings

You can see how some of the circles changed size but on the whole the design is intact. Marc kindly sent some photos of the resin application process.

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Our maker, Marc, at work. I believe he’s removing excess wood from the grooves to make them smooth.

The following captions are care of Marc.

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Start of the evening, the tape is to stop resin from flowing out of the grooves.
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Mixing in the glow in the dark powder.
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Pouring. The powder had a tendency to settle in the epoxy, so constant mixing was required.
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Charging the pigment with some UV strip lights I had kicking around.
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So here’s what the door looked like at the end of the evening
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Side view

Char and I are both blown away by the photos. Marc still has some work to do sanding down the resin, but we couldn’t be happier with the finished product. We will have the door soon, and then we’ll install it in the house.

  1. Computer Numerical Control — basically a robot with a cutting head []
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