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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dimensional Pub Sign

As Christmas quickly approaches its the time to make signs that will appear under trees Christmas morning. This client asked for a small pub sign for her husband. The budget mandated that we couldn't get too crazy but my client really wanted a dimensional sign. It would measure just over 4 feet wide and almost 24" tall. The horse's head would protrude from the sign. I first created the vectors in the appropriate scale. The barrel head would be created as a separate layer which will be glued on after routing. The horses head will be sliced and also glued back together after routing and then mounted to the sign.

The first item of business was to create the barrel head. Its a simple oval with a bitmap woodgrain applied. Then I created the stave ends by simply making them into 1.5" tall reliefs and then merging them to the barrelhead. A smaller oval was also raised to provide a mounting point for the horse's head.

The banner file was a pretty basic exercise. The layers of the banner were done at different heights, then merged together along with the oval for the barrel. I created a raised relief around the lettering and then the lettering was created as a bevelled relief. With the raggedy font it looks pretty cool with lots of texture.

I found a great looking horse's head in a STL file at www.3dmodelclub.com It was only $30.00 to download. The detail was pretty good. I'll make the horse a little more like a nag as I detail it by hand later. With the budget allowed for this sign I knew I couldn't carve the horse from scratch. 

The file was sized by eye and then rotated to suit the sign. I then created a zero height block and merged lowest to cut the back of the horses head off nicely. Using the slice tools in EnRoute and a zero height relief I cut the bottom plate off the horse's head. Then I sliced it again to fit in two slices in a 1.5" sheet of Precision Board.

I didn't bother with the small pieces of mane as I would recreate this easier with my sculpting medium after assembly. I created a copy of the two layers and flipped these for the back side of the horse. I then nested them for routing with the other pieces.

The file is on the router now and I'll post pictures as things progress.