The red TEDx letters. They grace TEDx event stages across the world – but how does an enterprising TEDx organizer craft such a bold look? TEDxBrum in Birmingham, UK turned to CNC machining, which allows machinists to create custom 3D designs out of materials like wood and plastic using guidance from computer-made designs. On their blog, resident designer Joyjit Sarkar explains the steps they took to get their logo from the computer to the stage.
Below, an amended version of Sarkar’s logo-to-CNC guide:
Step 1: Make the logo
We already had the TEDxBrum logo designed based on the guidelines provided by TED. This is the base of the design and it is crucial to stick to the branding guidelines.
Step 2: Turn it into a .DXF file
The .DXF file extension is one of the popular types used in CNC machining. To provide a CNC machinist with the materials needed to manufacture your letters, you need a .DXF file. Sarkar recommends using Adobe Illustrator or Solidworks to create your .DXF file. At this stage, it’s important to try and use the right sizes for what you’re after. Here is a YouTube tutorial for converting a .JPEG file to a .DXF file in Adobe Illustrator. Here is advice for creating .DXF files in Solidworks.
Step 3: Find a CNC shop near you
Step 4: Work out the details
Work with your CNC’er to make sure you get the tolerances, minimums and maximums right (they will know what this means). You might have to modify the file to suit the specifications of your CNC’er. And if you’re polite, your CNC’er might just help and do this for you.
Step 5: Pick your material and let your CNC’er do what they do best
We used the thickest material available: 25mm MDF wood. We recommend a sturdy, thick material.
Step 6: Pour on the paint
Make sure you prime the wood before you paint (otherwise the wood will absorb the paint). The TEDx needs to be in Red (Pantone 485) and event name in white.
Step 7: Step back and enjoy
That’s it! We hope this helps any future TEDx organizers. Enjoy! Love from TEDxBrum.