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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jurassic eye candy

 After months of thought (and no real need to proceed) it was at last time to get down to the business of creating the files for the Jurassic theme office. I wanted to wait until the desk was built and I could get a better sense of the scale of the room. On one wall there will be a series of four 16" square panels, which will look like flat rock fossil specimens cut to shape. To create the files in EnRoute I first created an irregular square vector shape, created a relief and then added a series of bitmaps to make the fossils. The magic will happen as we paint them up to look like real rock. They will be routed from 1" thick 30 lb Precision Board.Stay tuned for the step by step process.

For the opposite wall I want to create a dramatic fully dimensional skull of a triceratops - my five year old grand daughter Phoebe's favorite dinosaur. I'll most likely create a second one (slightly smaller) as a birthday present for her. First I found a good image of a skull on the internet. It provided all the information I needed.

I pulled this image into PhotoShop and then traced five silhouettes of the image which would form the layers we would route from 30 lb Precision Board. Each silhouette represented a 1 1/2" slice of the triceratops skull. These will be glued up and then quickly carved to shape with a die grinder. It's the fastest way I can think of to build such a piece without a full blown 3D file which would take far longer to create - at least for me. These bitmaps of the silhouettes were imported into EnRoute and using the trace function the vector files were generated in a fraction of a second. The vector files needed no cleanup.

I junked the original JPG file and duplicated the vectors (one for each side). Then using the nesting tool I put them onto the smallest board possible and generated the cut file. I'll run the file tomorrow morning.

Then the fun begins. Stay tuned...