Then he examined all of the vector-based artwork and, if necessary, made adjustments to clean it up. The software included a ‘vector doctor’ feature that checked for ‘invisible’ errors in the logos that could cause problems during later machining, such as gaps between vectors that appeared to intersect or the overlaying of vectors atop one another. All such errors were highlighted and many were even corrected automatically.
In some cases, Fogarty needed to add text to a logo’s template, such as the name of the sponsor or a related slogan. He used the software’s ‘vector text’ feature to create these additional elements in the desired font and size and position them within each template.
The next step in the graphic design process was copying the image onto a template at the same size as the block of ice where the logo would appear. Typically, the blocks were 1 x 0.5 m (40 x 20 in.). This step involved centring the logo inside its rectangular template, then resizing it, so it took up sufficient space within the template. The software also facilitated the flipping of logos to create their mirror images, as mentioned.
“The software made it easy to produce the files needed to drive the ice cutter,” says Fogarty, who even used it to make copies of shot glasses that he produced out of ice for use at the bar.
Fire and Ice Creations uses a professional-grade CNC router designed specifically for carving ice sculptures. Fogarty was able to produce all of the pieces for the 2010 ice bar using the cutter, including the logos, the support pillars and the top counter surface.
Once everything was cut, Fogarty drove the pieces three hours from Saskatoon to Regina for on-site assembly. The logos fit into the pillars with tongue and groove joints.
This phase took only six hours—half the time required in the past—because all of the pieces had been CNC-routed so accurately, no further cutting was required on-site. Once complete, the ice bar stood 4 m (13 ft) wide, 2.7 m (9 ft) deep and 1.2 m (4 ft) tall.
“The software and router make it possible to produce a much more complex ice bar, with a higher level of accuracy, in less time than in the past,” says Fogarty.