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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sonbuilt 3D logo build part one.

Sometimes what seems like the simplest of ideas can turn into a most challenging project. Our client, Sonbuilt Custom Homes had a nice logo, done by someone else. The idea was to create a lectern to be used at trade shows and as a display piece in the office. But we were going to ramp things up a little. It would be in a shadow box, fully 3D with LED back lighting and a waterfall with real water. The box would measure 32" x 32" x 16" deep. My client would build a watertight  aluminum enclosure and do the fancy woodwork around it. We would do the logo as an insert. Thankfully he had vector files which I thought would save me a bunch of work.

Once I opened the vector file I found it was a jumble of lines. It looked great in print but was not very useful for our purposes. It made me scratch my head for a few days as I puzzled it out. After separating the many elements I decided only the sunburst was usable and that needed to be heavily modified before we could create a routing file.

Once separated the vector sunburst looked like this. If I created a file using this vector the points of the star would be far too fragile to be practical.

So using the offset tool with radius corners I first offset to the outside, deleted the original, then offset to the inside. Then I tweaked each ray of the sunburst to a smaller radius on the inside and out to the edge of the piece on the outside. This was cut on the bottom to the shape of the clouds.

Then using the shape of the piece I wanted to route I created the basic relief. This would be modified using an oval vector of the right dimensions

Once I modified the original relief using the oval shape it looked like this.

 Then I used the starburst vector to modify the relief once more to create the background for the logo. 

Finally I created a vector that would be used for an offset cut. This would be used to cut out the piece. The file was now ready to tool path and then send to the router.

Stay tuned to see how it routes and then is assembled for the lectern.