Transom Lettering

Serenity has been a good little boat; she’s kept all her passengers safe, weathered rough conditions with only minor damage, and has been generally fun to be aboard.

There’s just one minor problem she’d been having: She looks so damned boring. There are plenty of gray boxes floating around out there. Some of them are pretty impressive, Serenity so far, is not. So what was a captain to do?

The answer: Sweet transom lettering. What a simple solution! She has a name and hull number that need to be displayed.

So how to do it?

The original plan was to find a vector stencil font that wasn’t terribly ugly, blow it up real big, and spray paint it on there. However, I couldn’t find a font I liked. Everything that was stencil based felt too blocky. Nothing elegant, and Serenity needs some elegance.

I came across a font I liked, but it was script styled. That meant it would need to be hand painted. Great. I’m barely a carpenter, let alone an artist…

A solution came to mind: I had an old projector that could connect to my laptop. It would be as easy as shining the image on the boat, and tracing the letters! Eureka!

Of course, it’s never that easy, is it? Below is the short list of issues that happened once I decided to take that route:

  1. It was working when I last used it. Now it wont turn on. Probably needs a new bulb.
  2. Ordered the new bulb. Still won’t work. Need to find a manual to diagnose new blink code
  3. Found a manual online. Blink code says “fan error”.
  4. Open up case to test the fans. End up tearing the ribbon cable that connects all the controls to the logic board.
  5. Find a similar model that doesn’t work but “may just need a new bulb” listed on eBay. Buy that. Between the two, I should be able to get ONE to work.
  6. Broken projector arrives, and has a rattle to it. Open it up and a surface mount capacitor falls out. Gah. So much for “needs a new bulb”.
  7. CAREFULLY removed the lid to not tear ribbon cable, took it completely apart and find where the capacitor came from, soldered it back on.

Pressed “ON” on the remote and….
Holy crap, it actually worked.

From that point it really was as simple as projecting it onto the transom. I used “outdoor” acrylic paints I found at the craft store, and this is the result of my heavily caffeinated and shaky hands at work:

Land of 10,000 Puddles

Land of 10,000 Puddles

Not too shabby, eh?

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