It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coming together in a hurry

I scratched my head a bit as I approached this new project. I knew what I wanted to do, but as always there is more than one way to get anywhere if we think about it. I had plenty of 1" 30 lb Precision Board on hand... my stock of thicker sheets was dwindling rapidly. I decided the scroll and oval would be best cut from 1.5" stock. The inside layers would be efficient if cut from 1" sheets. This would also minimize the hand work needed to shape the dimensional, double sided mountain 'graphic'.
After the design was done and approved I imported the vectors into EnRoute and started building the 3D flies. There was only one really. The oval was created and the beveled lettering added. I used one of my texture bitmaps to add some character. The incised lettering on the scroll was simple. The in between layers were simple cutouts. There were four router files in all. Each would be routed twice to create a double sided sign.
Once the MultiCam had done it's magic it was time to do some assembly. I had cut the motorcycle graphics with my plasma cutter and welded up the steel work necessary to hold everything in place. Two layers were glued on the work table, the balance up on the pole. This sign would be far too heavy to handle by myself once it was all together. I marked and cut the slots in the center pieces for the simple structural steel frame.
The two layers were clamped securely then I lifted the glued piece up onto the scaffold and welded it to the post. I simply had to see how it looked all together. I welded the rest of the bracket in place. It was starting to work for me. It wasn't hard to imagine the finished sign now.
The next morning I added the other six layers to the sign, carefully aligning them and then used Coastal Enterprises glue PB Bond-240 (as always). The sign bulked up considerably as I added the parts suddenly becoming downright large! It was left to set up over night.
Next up is the start of the hand work... adding texture to the edges and sculpting the mountain. I'd be working on a scaffold from here on in as the sign was now five feet off the ground.
Stay tuned...