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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tropical challenge

Mark is in the process of moving to Hawaii. I figured we would celebrate that with a tropical theme for his name plaque. After a little head scratching I came up with the idea of a leaf for his name plate. The lettering style is very casual of course and the leaf was quickly drawn in EnRoute. The stem of the leaf was drawn separately

I took a screen capture and then after adding another layer in Adobe Photoshop and a big fat, sift brush I quickly drew the outline. I kept in mind that black would do nothing, white would raise up the most and grays would do less, depending on its value.

Then I deleted the screen capture of the vector and saved the bitmap I had created. This would be imported it into EnRoute and sized and positioned it over the vectors a little later.

Then I selected the vector and created a flat relief.

Then I used the oval vector to modify the leaf relief with the dome tool.

The bitmap I had created earlier was then imported and positioned over the leaf shape. I used a .75" value in the parameters which meant it bowed up the white .75"

Combined with the previous dome shape it was looking pretty fine - and tropical already.

The stem relief was created next with the dome tool and this was modified with the oval vector and then nudged to the right height. The lettering outline was next, first as a flat relief and then modified with the oval. Lastly the oval vector was used to create a plaque for the background.I used the bevel tool but limited the height to make a bevelled edge. Everything was merged highest before I added the slightly domed lettering.

Then at last it was time to carve the piece from the 30 lb Precision Board. I was pleased with the result!