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, December 12, 2011

Tough file building challenge

My clients at the Fox and Hounds Pub are fans of the British TV sitcom Coronation Street. They asked me to make a sign that features the pub on the show, Rovers Return Inn. I did a little research online and came up with enough material to begin the design. It will be cartooned just a tad to fit in at the Fox and Hounds. For a background of the sign I used the beer label of the beer they serve there... Newton & Ridley.

I did up an illustration which the client approved. As I began the file design in EnRoute I got a call from my client asking whether it was possible to put some LED's inside to light up the windows. No problem but it certainly made the project a bit more of a challenge!

I traced the basic vectors in illustrator, then imported them and the original drawing into Enroute. Then I looked at it a long while and scratched my head. I had to decide how many layers I would route the sign with and how and where I would hollow out the back for the LED lighting modules and transformer.

In Enroute I used the vector editing tool to modify the vectors one by one, bending things up as necessary. Then I grouped the various elements into the layers I would route them in. I spent about an hour on the rather tricky file.

The bay window was the most complex element. Since the building is bent and the window is off center I couldn't merely duplicate and mirror the two sides.

The final vector files looked like this. After supper I'll start in on building the reliefs we need. I think I have it all figured out... time will tell.

Stay tuned...