Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi

Posted by: SirQuack

Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 09:44 PM

Hello Axiom Family!

*note before I get started - I have already received Ian's approval on this post for those that may question me*

I wanted to run something by all of you to see if it might be something you would be interested in for your home theater, bar, garage, home, etc. In the past many of us have been interested in signs/plaques or other wall items to dress up our home theater and/or homes, so I hope you will like this product.

I'd like to introduce you to Virtual Stone!

This little business idea is a venture between me and a good friend of mine, Matt. Right now it is something on the side to make a little extra cash, but we are hoping some day it might expand. It all started when I helped him with some other projects months ago, and he wanted to do something special for me as a thank you. We both love Audio/Video and home theater, so he decided to make be a special wall sign.

Below is the sign he built for me. I absolutely think it is "killer" and will look awesome once I complete my remodeling of the PorterPlex (sump pump failure).

The signs are all currently hand made by using a foam material, hot wire tool, templates, and painted with two different steps to produce a product that appears to be carved out of stone and very heavy.

The THX sign below is about 2ft wide and maybe 1-1.5 ft tall, and maybe 2-3+ inches thick all togethor. It really has a cool 3D affect, and the lighting in the room provides interesting shadows within the piece.

Although custom signs like Axiom Audio, family named HT signs, custom acoustic panels (my idea), etc., come to mind, the possibilies don't stop there. Below is a short list of some of the other items he has done:

Harley Davidson signs
Bar/Rec Room signs
Cullen Family Crests (lots of detail taking 15+hrs time)
Theater sign at a local cinema.
Decorative leaves for a living/family room.
...just to name a few

We are even trying to look into something that would hold up in exterior environments in case we receive such requests.

Anyway, I wanted to see what you all think and I will try to answer any questions you may have. We are thinking a piece similar to the THX one below would run in the neighborhood of $45-60. Pricing would depend on how many characters, complexity of how the letters flow togethor, font, etc. Pretty much any color would be available as well. Larger pieces than the dimensions above and pieces with a lot more complexity would cost more and take longer to complete.

I would imagine that people could sumbit to us a drawing or draft of what they are thinking to receive a quote. Eventually, if this thing takes off, I'm sure we can come up with standard pricing for basic items, and quotes for more detailed requests. Since there is only 2 of us we are estimating a 2-3 wk delivery time for now, but if business picks up that might increase to 4-6 wks or so, I am guessing. Our goal is to be able to afford a professional Foam Cutting cnc type machine which we've already been researching...

*One question for JohnK and other legal folk. I do have a concern about requests for THX, Dolby, Natural Lite smile , etc. type signs. Don't even think about Monster. smile I already have Ian's blessing from Axiom, but am a little concerned about legal issues. As Alan said Tomlinson Holman (THX creator) might like one of these above his head board...lol






Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 09:50 PM

I'm not a legal person, but I can tell you that companies don't like other people profiting from use of their registered trademarks.

Lucas would be the last company I'd mess with. Motorola is paying them for the use of the name "Droid" on their phones.
Posted by: Scamp

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:07 PM

I'd have to say you're trying to cut-your-own-throat at that price point. This is a luxury item, you need to add an extra digit to that price ($199'ish). Especially for custom work.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:13 PM

Actually it is funny you say that Scamp. Recenty, we showed some works to some people that attend Des Moines, Iowa's yearly Art Festival. This Festival is huge and takes up much of downtown. People and famous Artists of all types come from all over the world. Anyway, they were saying some of the Cullen Family Crests would easily sell for $200-300 at the show, but they do take 15-20hrs to complete each piece.

I hope to have some pictures of some of the other works asap. I will talk to Matt about the price as he was the one that is always trying to help people out and do something nice. Sometimes he forgets what he puts into his own time. He is a good Christian friend of mine and to him it is all about helping others, as it should be. wink
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:14 PM

IMO I would cease and desist selling your product with any word, logo, symbol, name that has intellectual property associated with it which is not yours. THX, Harley Davidson etc. Don't assume Monster is the only company out there that does get litigation happy.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:18 PM

It was just a joke about Monster, if you've been around this forum long enough, you'll know where that came from... smile

Yes, I'm pretty much aware of the possible outcome of using a name like THX, Lucas, Dolby, etc. without permission, and would not go there without such approval or royalties acceptance from them. But I do have connections... smile
Posted by: LT61

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:30 PM

sirquack,

I like your idea, and the work looks great.
But.......I can assure you it would be better to do non-trade marked words, and images.
You can't afford to fight the big guys........remember: the big fish always eats the little fish.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 10:48 PM

Additionally, the way trademark law works, the owner of said mark must fight. There's such a thing as trademark dilution. If the owner of a trademark doesn't defend it, they lose legal claim to it.

That's not to say the marks can't be licensed for use. That's why you see things like, "Dolby Digital, and the Double D logo are trademarks of Dolby Labs, used with permission."
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 11:14 PM

There's always a bigger fish.
Posted by: Scamp

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 11:22 PM

Originally Posted By: sirquack
Actually it is funny you say that Scamp. Recenty, we showed some works to some people that attend Des Moines, Iowa's yearly Art Festival. This Festival is huge and takes up much of downtown. People and famous Artists of all types come from all over the world. Anyway, they were saying some of the Cullen Family Crests would easily sell for $200-300 at the show, but they do take 15-20hrs to complete each piece.


Of course I still want mine for $60.... smile

I have the perfect spot for one, now I just have to think of what to put on it...
Posted by: Scamp

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: sirquack
He is a good Christian friend of mine and to him it is all about helping others, as it should be. wink


In this case I'm going to have to disagree, you are talking about starting a business not a missionary. If your friend is the artist you better make sure you have a very clear understanding of hours/production/pay. It's fun to make a couple of these things for friends. Making them by the dozen is work. Is really ready for that?
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/18/10 11:34 PM

One thing Matt and I have not really discussed is mounting hardware. The piece the size of the THX sign he did for me for "free" smile is very light and I'm guess there are lots of options for mounting. I suppose we could leave that up to the buyer on how they want to mount them, or be open for suggestions. Obviously you would want them to be level. smile
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 12:23 AM

For mounting, I'd cut a couple keyhole slots in the rear of each piece with a keyhole router bit (example link). Then provide a template people can use to mark the screw locations on their wall and suggest that they use plastic ez anchors.
Posted by: CV

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 03:20 AM

That looks really great, Randy. I think I would certainly be in the market for an Axiom sign looking something like that.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 05:03 AM

Looks sharp Randy. Just curious if you can do the same thing but crate a fake wood effect? Another thought is rather than just making logos or signs could you shape things like sound diffusers? Just a couple other possibilities.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 07:07 AM

Thanks Peter, I will look into that to see if that would be an option. My only concern is if something like that would work for a foam type product. I did see some small picture type triangular brackets that had an adhesive material attached that one could fasten to the back, and then use small wire similar to that used in pictures.

Dean, that is an interesting idea about a wood look. Might look cool in someones cabin or basement as a family entrance point..thanks for the idea, will have to think about that as well.

Thanks for all the input, if anyone is interested in something or a quote, just shoot me a PM...now off to my regular job...Randy
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 09:01 AM

Hey. I've got some flagstone left over....maybe I should.... cry
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 09:35 AM

The problem with hanging it from a wire is that it wouldn't lay flat against the wall. If you don't think the foam is rigid enough for the keyholes, you could glue a piece of 1/8" plywood to the rear of each piece and then cut the keyhole slots through that. It would provide more than enough rigidity and strength for mounting.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 09:51 AM

Or use a french cleat (this must be about the fifth time I've gotten to use these graphics!):




Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 12:43 PM

So they've gone back to being called French -- and not Freedom -- cleats, now?
Posted by: CV

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 12:45 PM

"Freedom" doesn't make one confident that the photo/sign is going to be securely attached to the wall.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 02:10 PM

Hmm, if you did house numbers, could it be made weatherproof for outside use?
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 02:37 PM

There are lots of possiblities here. Yes, we are looking into some exterior finishes/options in case we get such requests. smile I picture a big large mouth bass above your garage. smile
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 08:52 PM

Here are a few more pics I took recently of some other orders.






Posted by: a401classic

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 09:20 PM

Ooooooo. Kind of digging the fleur de lis !! New Orleans so close and all...

Looking good, Randy!

Scott
Posted by: Ya_basta

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:10 PM

Randy, that's some great work! I hope your business flourishes!

However I do find it interesting that a THX sign is okay, but your comment (which was correct) regarding TonyMc designing an Axiom Firefox skin for me shows that you clearly know that it's not okay to use company logos without their consent; or maybe that only applies to Axiom....

It just bothers me when someone comments on something that shouldn't be done (not for profit in TonyMc's case as he was truly helping out someone), but then they go ahead and do it themselves for profit nevertheless. Then to claim it's done in the name of religion and "helping people out".

Sorry, that's just not cool in my book.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:28 PM

No kidding. If you don't have permission to use the New Orleans Saints logo for example and selling these, what you are doing is illegal and you can be sued. This is unlikely unless your business takes off, but still. My guess is that logo is intellectual property of the national football league.
Posted by: Scamp

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:36 PM

The Fleur-de-lis is most certainly NOT property of the NFL. It has been used pretty much through human history.

Quote:

In North America, the fleur-de-lis is often associated with areas formerly settled by France, such as Quebec, St. Louis, Louisville and Louisiana, and with French-speaking people in other Canadian provinces.

It is also the emblem of the city of Florence, and of the Swiss municipality of Schlieren.




Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:43 PM

Cam, the THX sign was a gift to me from my friend Matt. I don't think I said we are planning on selling any "brandname" signs without permission. I already talked to Ian in regards to Axiom in the event someone wanted an Axiom sign.

I guess your comments are confusing me, I mentioned in the other thread that it might be a good idea to bounce it off Axiom first, that is what I did if you read my post. I also asked some feedback from this community on what everyone things regarding legal issues, which is how people responded to me and said it would be a good idea to stay away from the big fish.

Your comments about doing something in the name of religion are way off base and not sure where your coming from. You obviously don't understand my comments. I was responding to Scamps question as to why we are charging so little. Matt is a great guy and for someone you don't know it is funny you would reply this way.

He has always done this work on the side for friends and families for free, after spending 15hr+ or more doing this work by hand. He doesn't make a lot of money in his regular job as a youth pastor at a local church so I thought "heck dude, you should try starting a little business to put a little extra change in your pocket".

It was my idea to approach the Axiom community as I knew in the past before you joined the forums, a lot of us were interested in custom Home Theater signs. MarkSJohnson, NickBuol, and I talked about this way back, and received images from Axiom, with THEIR Blessing, not Jesus's blessing.

Anyway, I guess you have a right to your opinion which I am fine with, but it is interesting that people get offended if someone is a Christian, guess what so am I.

God's Peace buddy.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:45 PM

Thanks Scamp, funny how some know everything. At least you and Scott for Orleans are aware of what it is about.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:47 PM

Yeah you are right. With merchandise and all I am kind of surprised. Apparently, the New Orleans Saints logo and colors together are protected which makes sense.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 10:53 PM

IMO the point being made is not to infringe on trademarks period. Whether it is a big company or a small fish is irellevent.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/19/10 11:24 PM

BTW, they do look nice.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 01:14 AM

Randy, very nice work! I may have an idea for something I would like. I would also not worry about any copyright infringement if you are making items for friends, now if you decide to go public with retail sales that would be another story.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 08:09 AM

I am just trying to show everyone examples of what types of things can be done. Many thanks.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 08:27 AM

Randy, I don't have any idea how big the market would be for HT-type signs in peoples homes, but if it can be made weatherproof, I think there would be a very large market with external business signs and markers...
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 08:42 AM

I agree Mr Johnson, I remember years ago there was a lot of dedicated HT folks that were interested in custom "MarkSJohnson Theater" type signs... but I knew it would be a smaller audience. I'm sure these can be made to hold up in the exterior elements, we just have not had a request for that yet. smile
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 11:39 AM

Originally Posted By: wheelz999


It just bothers me when someone comments on something that shouldn't be done (not for profit in TonyMc's case as he was truly helping out someone), but then they go ahead and do it themselves for profit nevertheless. Then to claim it's done in the name of religion and "helping people out".

Sorry, that's just not cool in my book.


There was no reference from Randy doing anything in the name of religion. I find it interesting that you came to that conclusion.

I also do not think it’s “cool” that you feel it is OK to continually inform people that you are an atheist on a public forum, but you do not think a reference to religion is cool. That is a clear double standard. A public forum is not a place for any reference to personal beliefs or politics IMO.

And if you are wondering, I am not religious, and in fact, do not like organized religion of any kind. However, I am not an atheist either.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 04:38 PM

Thanks Mike, much appreciated.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 05:28 PM

Well said, Mike.
Posted by: a401classic

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/20/10 07:17 PM

There was actually some hullaballou from the NFL regarding the fleur de lis right around the championship/superbowl time frame, claiming rights to said symbol...

... didn't hold up. IF it is used in conjunction with the "Saints" or the like, then the NFL could claim rights, but the symbol by itself - no dice.

I still think it's cool work, Randy. You go, boy!
Posted by: Ya_basta

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/24/10 06:13 PM

Hey Randy, I will try to explain my response.

First I think it's important to say that I most definitely don't get offended whatsoever if someone is a Christian or of any denomination. To each their own as long as they aren't hurting anyone.

Reply to Scampy-

Originally Posted By: sirquack
I will talk to Matt about the price as he was the one that is always trying to help people out and do something nice. Sometimes he forgets what he puts into his own time. He is a good Christian friend of mine and to him it is all about helping others, as it should be. wink


I took the "as it should be" at the end of your reply as holding the same belief as Matt-"it is all about helping others out". I know there is a "wink" following your statement, but I took it as a facetious one because if taken literally it could/would imply that there's no sincerity/relevance in the sentence that precedes it, which I didn't think was the case.


Originally Posted By: sirquack

Your comments about doing something in the name of religion are way off base and not sure where your coming from. You obviously don't understand my comments. I was responding to Scamps question as to why we are charging so little. Matt is a great guy and for someone you don't know it is funny you would reply this way.

He has always done this work on the side for friends and families for free, after spending 15hr+ or more doing this work by hand. He doesn't make a lot of money in his regular job as a youth pastor at a local church so I thought "heck dude, you should try starting a little business to put a little extra change in your pocket".


Originally Posted By: michael_d

There was no reference from Randy doing anything in the name of religion. I find it interesting that you came to that conclusion.


My comments about doing something in the name of religion also came from your aforementioned reply-

Originally Posted By: sirquack
I will talk to Matt about the price as he was the one that is always trying to help people out and do something nice. Sometimes he forgets what he puts into his own time. He is a good Christian friend of mine and to him it is all about helping others, as it should be. wink


Maybe I'm wrong, but I took "he is a good Christian friend of mine ....." as doing the work and setting the price lower in the name of religion.

If you had said- "I will talk to Matt about the price as he was the one that is always trying to help people out and do something nice. Sometimes he forgets what he puts into his own time. He is a good Christian friend of mine and to him it is all about helping others, as it should be. ;)". Then in no way would there be any inclination that it's done with any religious undertone.


I will say emphatically that despite my comments regarding religion, I do think it's very highly commendable for Matt to create such beautiful work and hold true to his core belief system, which is what should be. And, although I don't know you, I'm sure you are the same as Matt (based on your interaction on the forum).

I don't want this to carry on as a debate or disagreement between you and I, and I definitely hope that you and others on the forum will see where I was coming from, if only slightly.

If you don't, then I have no problem apologizing to Matt and yourself as I had no intention whatsoever to come across in the manner that I was received.

Again, I wish you both nothing but the best in this new venture, and hope it flourishes!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/24/10 07:45 PM

Well said, Cam.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 08/25/10 09:12 AM

"as it should be" was referring to "helping others out". I think it is important to help people out, it has nothing to do with the statement about him being a Christian. You read to much into people's posts obviously. Because you are all my friends, Matt wanted to charge less than he should, for ex. charging $40 including shipping, on a piece that took him 15+ hrs to complete. I mearly mentioned to him that if he wants to start a business and be successful, he needs to get past being nice and helping others to a point. Sorry, I guess I will be cautious in what I mention in the future as it will be taken out of context.

To your reply to Mike, again you took something out of context and I never implied that this business venture was done in the name of religious reasons. Sorry I mentioned that one person in the world was a Christian.

Your right, you did take the business idea, price, etc. in the name of religion wrong, they have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

This is not English or Philosophy class, so I am sorry I did not meet your grammer requirments on an AV forum.

Thanks for your positive ending comments.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 03/02/12 09:45 AM

Since Kruncher sent me a PM today to see how my buddies bussiness was doing, thought I'd give all of you an update, even the trolls.

Can't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but my friend lost his job as a youth pastor at a local church, and with todays economy, has had a hard time finding a job. So we had this idea, that started this thread. Since then, he was married, and this business is doing pretty darn good. Below is his website, and he also has a facebook page. Thanks again for all of you that gave support with this idea.

He made me a cool THX sign, which was given to me, and I also plan to pay to have him build a cool entrance above my home theater french doors, possibly with some backlighting..

The website is not the best design, but if you check the various links across the tops he has lots of pics.

http://www.virtualstoneart.com/
Posted by: BobKay

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 03/02/12 10:03 AM

That's great, Randy! Glad it worked out for him. It IS a cool idea. Would he make one for me if I chose a very, very naughty word----with an exclamation point?
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 03/02/12 10:21 AM

ha ha, I could check Bob, lol. depends on the naughty word I suppose, lol, you could send me a PM if interested, lol.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 03/03/12 09:18 AM

That's good news, Randy! I'm glad things are turning out well for your friend.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Virtual Stone custom signs...fyi - 03/05/12 08:16 AM

Very cool. Years ago, I met an artist in a campground who exclusively carved peoples dog photos into stone slabs. His price was astronomical but when you realized how much time he put into it, it makes sense. The level of detail right down to individual hairs was unbelievable. It takes him close to a year (sometimes over a year) to complete each piece and it was almost like a photo when it was done. He said he was about just over half into the current project he had out when we went to see what he was doing and it already had multiple times more detail than any carving I have ever seen.

I remember thinking you would have to have a personality disorder to be able to put that much time into so much detail but the results certainly were beautiful. A true artist in every sense of being.