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

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where's the washroom?

The washroom signs are without a doubt some of the most important in the facility. The staff will certainly be asked that question a lot - especially if the signs aren't clear. It is not often a customer sees a sketch like this, but the concept was designed on the fly and the customer approved the drawing. We decided to add a diamond to the bottom of the sign to balance things and tie it into the decor inside the bathrooms - a theme repeated in the tile work and in the mirror frames.

I search on the web produced these international symbols in an instant. I opted to vectorize them myself from the small bitmaps rather than buy the vectors already done. It took mere minutes.

I used Illustrator to produce the raw vectors and then imported them into EnRoute. It could easily have been done entirely in EnRoute however.

To minimise my work I created two reliefs of the background plates. I then imported the sandblasted woodgrain from my TEXTURE MAGIC collection and stretched it out so the wood grain I liked covered the area inside the sign. It was applied with a value of 0.2" providing a deep texture that read well.


After duplicating the larger background and positioning it under the man vector, the characters, lettering and diamonds were all built as separate elements, then merged with the background using the merge highest command.

 As quick as that the sign relief files were created. I tool pathed each file as a separate file so I could route them inside the waste material from the mirror files. These were being routed from 40 lb Precision Board making them plenty durable for the high traffic location they were being used for. By tonight they will be ready for paint.