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, July 2, 2011

Sign Magic Workshop samples - Part one

WIth the first of four Sign Magic Workshops now only six weeks away it is time to get the gears in motion once again. For the workshop hosted by MultiCam Canada in Toronto they will be routing the samples there in readiness for the students. We'll be using 30 lb Precision Board for the pieces. In the next series of posts I will be doing step by steps for the four sample pieces.

The first one is the letter 'a' in a simple domed, round panel with a texture created with one of my bitmaps from the TEXTURE MAGIC collection.  I first created the vectors., then added an outline to the 'a'. The total size is approximately 7.5" across.

I added one more circle around the piece and created a zero height relief. This would allow me to machine the piece in one pass and leave an onion skin bottom, so it didn't lose vacuum and shift. I then aded a 0.3" relief for the frame around the circle. Then I modified this relief with a 10 degree dome with a height of 0.2" on the edge. This was further modified by placing a bitmap over the relief. I carefully sized and placed it over the circle vector, then used a value of 0.15 to create the texture. If you look close you can see the relief and inside vector, both blue because they are selected.

Then it was time to add the letter 'a' and the border around it. The border is first in the process. Create a flat relief. The height is irrelevant but I did it at 0.4". The I modified this flat relief by also selecting the circle vector and using the dome tool. 

Then, using the up/down arrows in the front view I nudged it into position vertically. This was then merged with the base reief

Lastly a prism letter 'a' was added to the relief.

The file was duplicated six times to create the routing file.

This will be a dramatic piece when we show everyone just how to paint it to bring out all the textured magic!