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, July 12, 2011

Details, details - branding!

There are so many great opportunities to use our CNC routers in ways most sign people would never even think of. Ask most sign folks what a sign is and they will tell you it is a board with letters stuck onto it. NOT is our shop. A sign in our shop is anything that showcases our customer's product, service or business. 

You may remember how the many ways we included the MultiCam brand into the office project. By the time we were finished it appeared more than 120 times through the facility, subtly and sometimes not so subtly working for our customer while adding character to our customer's facility.

At the Fox & Hound's Pub we are also looking for creative ways to put branding at every turn. One obvious area is on the window and corner blocks of the trim and moldings. A dimensional graphic of the fox will appear there. The file is simple and quick to run, using up some of the many scrap pieces of Precision Board I have laying around. The result will add a lot of detail and character to the restaurant and pub while reminding the customer on a constant basis of where they are.

The file started as simple vector drawings. The fox was traced from an image I found on the web in seconds.  The blocks will be various sizes in the facility, simply scaled up or down from this file. The original file measures 6.25" x 6.25".  A second set, also in this batch, for the front doors measures 8" x 8"

 Then I used the jigsaw tool to create the shapes as below, then deleting the original vectors used to create them.

The first step was to create a 1.5" high relief. 

Then I selected the relief and all the vectors inside and used the subtract from relief command to drop the insides 0.4"   It looked like this when I was done.

Then I imported a wood texture from my TEXTURE MAGIC collection.  I stretched it out vertically until I could fit the corner block onto a section of wood grain I liked, then positioned the relief under it. I selected the base relief and all the inside vectors.

Just like that the file was ready to route. I tool pathed it using a 3/8" ball nose bit for the rough pass at 50% overlap. Then I programed a final pass using a 1/8" ball nose bit with an 80% overlap.  A final offset cut was also programmed into the file.  I duplicated the files and flipped one for each door. In this way the foxes will be looking at each other above the doors and windows, rather than all facing the same direction. It's a small but nice touch.

The files ran pretty quick using 30 lb Precision Board.  I took this picture about half way through the process.

The possibilities for such a treatment are limitless. In the pub this will be expanded to many other places as well. I'll be posting my ideas and the progress here. As the trim goes up and we begin final paint I'll show more pictures of everything in place. Stay tuned...