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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

As fast as a speeding tortoise!

With only twelve weeks to finish the Fox & Hounds Pub project there is little time to waste. My biggest challenge will be to stay ahead of my crew. Tonight as I waited for the MultiCam to finish another project I put together the EnRoute file for the Tortoise sign. It will be a few days before it makes it to the router but the file is now ready. 

The vectors were largely done when I designed the sign. I did this work in Illustrator. I added the tag line 'Drink it slow!' to the design before the vector files were imported to EnRoute. I created the outline of the tortoise which was missing as it was merely a hand drawn illustration in the design. He will be hand carved and sculpted.

The sign is to be routed from two layers of 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board. The first task was to duplicate and separate the vectors for each layer.  Then I created reliefs for each element.

In the next screen shot it shows the various files as I merged (highest) them together. The blue outline is the base file while the red outlines are the files I merged to it.

The second layer contained the oval with the writing and the top of the scroll with the lettering on it. I will machine it flat and then do a little hand sculpting later to finish the curved ends of the scroll and blend it to the bottom layers. The tortoise in the center will be a simple cutout. I'll add another layer or two and then shape them before gluing them together.

The final file will be positioned on the plate and tool pathed before cutting.

I should be able to put them on the MultiCam this coming weekend sometime and let them run while I do other tasks.