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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Second name plaque

The second name plaque I designed for the Sign Magic Workshop was for a fellow named Doug from Illinois. He is a self confessed 'signaholic' who claims to be a member of the 'Blind Magicians of the Orient'. I know he loves weathered metal and rivets. That's all the information I needed for his name plaque. It would be a salvaged piece of a ship, slightly twisted with rivets of course. The name of the ship? DOUG of course. I also decided to hind a message in the plaque for those few who were observant enough to notice. 'MAGIC' is spelled out in braille with the rivets. The missing rivets are merely holes in the metal. I did a quick sketch to bring the idea out of my mind and onto paper.
Then I created the simple vector file I would need. After creating simple raised reliefs in EnRoute I applied a blend bitmap to 'bend the file appropriately.
Then I selected a second bitmap from my collection called 'splotches 2'. I knew from experience this would create a bumpy surface that looked like pitted steel. The rivets and the name were simple reliefs.
I would route the name plaque from 30 lb Precision Board - as always. Working with a dense HDU would speed up the finishing time and also make the pieces plenty tough for the handling they would receive at the class and in transit back to wherever the folks were from. The panel would be largely created on our MultiCam CNC router.
There will be a little hand work as well when the machine is done. Watch for the next installment...