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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

120 different ideas and counting

In the last four years I've had to come up with more than 120 name tags for our workshop attendees. They have all been different. For anyone who is serious about learning EnRoute I would recommend designing and routing a few dozen of these types of things. It will force you to be creative and also learn many of EnRoute's features.

For these series of name plaques I took a little different approach than previous. I have a good collection of cartoon fonts which I like to use. I scrolled through them, with the list of names handy. As I matched the names I sketched in my sketch book and also made notes. I also matched texture bitmaps from my collection to go with each piece. It didn't take too long to come up with 25 new ideas I needed.

Butch is well known in the sign making world, a popular and knowledgable teacher in his own right. He is also very good at marketing. Somehow 'evil genius' typestyle looked right. The texture 'chinese food' also worked for this name.

The vectors were simple.  I started with the lettering border. I created a flat relief and then used the vector oval to modify it to a slight dome shape. 

Next up was the border for the oval. I used the limit to height command to create a chamfer around the edge.

Then I selected the oval border and the inside oval vector and modified the relief with a dome shape. This same selection was modified one more time by adding a bitmap texture.

The lettering outline was then nudged upward in the front view using the up arrow. This was merged highest to the original relief.

The last step was to create the lettering. Once again I used the dome tool to modify the relief.