The finished sign installed in the garden area provided. Dana enjoyed westerns more than anything, so the sign was designed in an old western saloon style.

One of the major events that happened within my time as a Foothill High School Dragon was the passing of our campus security guard Dana Eaton. Remembered as the “rock” of Foothill, Dana always showed students the most interest and energy. He would joke around with us, give outstanding life advice, and guide students onto a better path than they were already on with his energy and passion. He even read the daily announcements because the staff recognized his impact; announcing through the loudspeaker was not part of his official campus job. Dana did pass during the school year, and the staff immediately sought some way of memorializing his impact, and so they transformed a run-down section of the school into a vibrant garden and contracted DTech to create a sign that would last. The DTech teachers chose me as the student candidate for this project, and so donated weeks of my lunchtime to make this dream possible in honor of Dana.

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After sitting down in various meetings with my high school principal Mr. Bova, he outlined his requests for a sign. The general notion of displaying “The Garden of Eaton” was solidified, as well as the request for a western-style saloon style, however, he gave me all creative freedom to craft a detailed design that best fit the tools DTech (the academy I was in) had in-house. With some initial ideas, I went to the sketchbook and drew up many iterations of this sign. Ultimately, I landed on this initial design and font.


This project was my first major CNC Mill job, and I brought many design requirements requiring many hours of machine time. Primarily, this project required the main CNC mill that DTech had at the time: the XCarve Inventables CNC Mill. I used inventable proprietary CAM modeling software to generate the GCode for the cuts, fastened my stock to the bottom board, and monitored my cut progress as I cut the primary lettering, cut-extrude lettering, and corner accents (all seen below on the bottom photo). This was a solo venture, so all associated tasks with this project had to be done by myself.


The assembly on this project was fairly simple. Given the weight of such a large wooden stock, I had to fasten both blanks together with metal plates bolted into the wood. Additionally, the solution to hanging the sign was to take two metal c-clamps that fit around the metal pole at the garden site and bolt them in a fashion so as to ‘hug’ the metal pole with frictional force. The external lettering was driven together with star screws to both mitigate theft and raise the production quality; the look of a normal Phillips screw head just doesn’t look as professional as a special screw. Overall, this assembly took around 20 hours, bringing the total time donated to this project at around 100 hours.