“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

~Jacob Riis~

Last month I was commissioned by Chris Lauten, Northwestern Basketball’s Director of Operations, to fabricate a trophy for their off season competition called “Pound the Rock”.  The honor is given to the player who embodies the values and principles of Northwestern Basketball on and off the court. Chris was thinking of something similar to the Nickelodeon Guts trophy but purple.

Here are some pictures taken throughout the process.

making pattern

I started out by fabricating a foam-board pattern to cast a mold from.

building foam pattern

Pattern2I used joint compound to cover any seems in the foam-board.


finished untextured patternI added a texture using Liquitex Heavy Gloss Gel Coat.


I only had a few weeks to complete this and have it shipped before it was presented to the winner so I hired my pal Rick Payson to help cast the silicone mold and build the base for the trophy. This was the plywood box that covered the pattern and acts as the frame for the silicone mold.

mold box for siliconePoured 2.5 gallons of Hapsil 360 which is a tin based silicone.

Filled mold box hapsil silicone

casting silicone mold

This picture shows the pattern still in the mold. Once it was removed I post cured it at 145F for 8 hours.

Removing pattern from mold

Post Curing Mold in ovenI built up a 1/4″ thickness using 1/4″ foam to represent the part while the core is being cast.

adding foam layer for silicone core

Cutting Wood core to cast silicone aroundWe made a wood core for the silicone core to save cost and make it more rigid.

wood core to cast silicone aroundOnce it was screwed in place, we used another 2.5 gallons of Hapsil Silicone to make the core.

Casting silicone mold core

Once the that cured, the foam layer is removed leaving 1/4″ gap. The gap will be filled with urethane resin to make the part.

Cured silicone mold

I used Hapco’s Hapflex urethane with 1% violet tint added to the catalyst and I vacuum degassed both components separately.

Vacuum degassing resinOnce mixed, I poured into the mold and pressure cast at 80PSI.

pouring urethane resinThe next day we removed the core and de-molded the part.

removing cast part from mold

demolding part and removing core

Demolded cast part

With the actual piece to use as a guide, Rick and I built the base to follow the angles of the rock.

building the wood baseTo make this trophy structurally sound, I decided to add 1/4″ rabbet on all four pieces for the top to sit down into.

cutting wood for base

filing corners of baseOnce the box was tacked together, I added a beveled edge using the table saw at a 45 degree angle.

cutting angled edges

finished wood base

When the base was built, bondo’d and sanded, I primed and painted it in a flat black finish to offset the glossiness of the rock.

primer on base

Painting base flat blackTo light the trophy, I found this set of LED puck lights at lowes.

Led Lights

perpetual name plates

Finger Slot Base

Removable cover on bottom

LED stuck to base

Blueyestudios logo

Finished Northwestern Pound the Rock Award

Northwestern Pound the Rock Trophy

pound the rock lit up