The custom designer/fabricator named Dillon Works! Inc. of Mukilteo, Washington, has a history of making innovative exhibits and signage, unique environments and unusual themed projects from all kinds of materials ranging from soft goods to metal. Yet, as manufacturers introduce more specialized types of substrates, the company’s owner and president, Mike Dillon, is just as likely to stick with familiar materials.
“You get used to the tried and true materials, as you already know their potential and the fabrication techniques,” he said. “Also, for our applications, the newer materials can be more expensive.” So, what did he do about five years ago when he had to fabricate a 16-ft. replica of Seattle’s famous Space Needle? He used Sintra® Material—rigid board of moderately expanded plastic—over a steel armature. “We used Sintra Material because of its light weight and ease of workability. Also because of its variety of available thicknesses, we could buy material according to the scale we needed.” Yes, that would be important when you’re making a replica of something as large as the Space Needle.
In addition to working with plastics, woods, and metals, the company has a Soft Goods Shop with the capabilities of a typical industrial sewing shop, as well as the ability to dye fabrics. Other materials sometimes used include leather, heavy canvas, faux fur, fleeces, as well as foam rubber. Yet, due to creative design and fabrication, it can be difficult to tell one material from another in the finished product.
One good example of this is the sign that Dillon Works recently fabricated for a Kirkland, Washington, ad agency by the name of Brandhammer. The sign makes use of Sintra Material for a cut-out logo featuring a character swinging a sledgehammer, and uses Sintra Material painted to look like steel on a lava-look base. It gives the impression of strength and mass from a lightweight but rigid material.
Steel/lava-look signs and Space Needle replicas are just the tip of the design and fabrication iceberg (which they could estimate for you as well) at Dillon Works! Inc. A wider sampling of their recent creative projects includes:
Five semi-trailers of themed elements for a client’s booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo
A 20-ft.-diameter “Desert Flower” as an entrance marker at an Arizona shopping center, a flower rated to withstand 90-mph winds and temperature extremes
A full-scale mockup of a Federal courtroom in Seattle
Various “walk-around” characters (like moose, salmon, dragon, gopher and seals), bringing their total of such characters to more than 500.
Founded in 1985, Dillon Works! Inc. does its work in its own 28,000-sq.-ft. production facility located 30 minutes north of Seattle. During their busy periods, the company employs more than 60 people, including designers, artists, sculptors, welders, painters, carpenters, mold makers, customers and others.