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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

With the throne rooms for the Fox & Hounds Pub pretty much designed it was time to route up the first mirror frame, as a sample to assist the carpenters and also the folks who were to cut the glass. I started with the sketch as a reference.

With light fixtures over each mirror they couldn't be too tall. I designed the lettering file in Illustrator. and then imported it and a basic oval into EnRoute. In this screen shot I had already added the rectangle and stretched out the bottom of the oval. I would use the jigsaw tool to create the actual frame vector and then build the file from there.

I'm not going to go into the entire build of the reliefs in this entry, but I will show a few things. Here's the complete vectors for the mirror frame. The crown still has to be aded to the top.

The crown vectors were fairly simple, designed to make the crown as tough as possible with no small bits to be broken off. The mirror frame will be routed from 40 lb Precision Board and backed with 3/4" plywood for extra strength.

One thing I want to show is how to make a faceted edge to a relief or rather one of the ways to accomplish this task in EnRoute.  The relief is a simple square vector. Then I opened the create relief menu.  Look close at the options I have selected...  add to relief, bevelled relief, LIMIT TO HEIGHT. since the material I am routing the diamonds from is 1 inch thick I selected this number to enter. The base  height ( distance of the vertical side of the relief) is set at 0.3"  the angle of the bevel is set to 40 degrees. When I hit enter it creates the perfect diamond shape with bevelled edges.

Heres a 3/4 angle shot to show what happened with these settings. This is a handy tool I like to sometimes use.

And here's a screen shot of the finished routing file. The yellow bits will be routed in two passes, first with a 3/8" ball nose bit and a final pass with a 1/8" ball nose bit and an 80% overlap. The thin black vector is our guide for an offset, cutout pass using a 3/8" mill tool.

And here's the picture of the piece as it runs on the MultiCam as I type up this entry. I'll run out to the shop in a few minutes to shut down the machine as soon as the file is finished. Tomorrow morning I'll take it to the job site for final approval and fitting.