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, May 28, 2011

EUREKA! All bent out of shape!

I've had the idea in my head for better than a year but never got around to testing it out until today. A few weeks ago when I visited Coastal Enterprises' operation in California I asked Chuck Miller if it was possible. He affirmed my notion to heat Precision Board up and then bend it to conform to a curve shape. His advice was to let the heat soak in real good because the Precision Board is a good insulator and doesn't transfer it well.

Today when I went into the house for lunch I popped a good size scrap into the oven and turned the heat to 200 degrees. Fifteen minutes later I threw on a pair of oven mitts and pulled it out of the oven.  It easily bent and then hardened quickly without memory of it's original shape. As per Chuck's advice I didn't overdo it... but with a teeny bit more heat I suspect much more of a bend is possible.  Keep in mind my experiment was done with 30 lb Precision Board.

With our upcoming pub project I can now easily achieve what I need. I'll do the routing first and then heat the pieces up to bend them, clamping them over a buck to harden. The curved mantle pieces I designed are now possible with a minimum of material going to waste. I have a few more ideas in my brain as well that may benefit from this new found technique!

More fun is in the works...