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, October 27, 2011

Fancy sculpting tools

The high tech and fancy tools like EnRoute software and a CNC router are very nice. I simply couldn't manage without them for they allow me to do some pretty cool projects. But I love my other simpler tools too and often we can do marvelous things with a very basic approach.

For the wood grain on the barrel I used the simplest tool imaginable. I squeezed the sculpting epoxy on with my fingers, whetted it down with water and then broke out one of my favorite less technical tools - a stir stick from the paint store. Sometimes I use a razor knife to trim the end a little or shape or sharpen it. This time I used it stock without any adjustments.

The key to using it properly was the angle of attack. For the joints between the staves I sculpted with the stick held up at 45 degrees to the surface. For the woodgrain it was held flatter and dragged along to form ridges. I created the ridges so they threw a shadow and in the process became more prominent - especially in directed  or controlled light.

I've been sculpting two boards per session in order to not muck things up. Once the epoxy hardens I'll do the next sections.