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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A change is as good as a rest.

We don't do a lot of residential and cabin signs but when we do I enjoy them. In this case the owner's wanted something playful that reflected their relaxed time at their cottage. After some discussion we decided a fellow asleep in his hammock was the perfect image. The trees leaning inward under the weight of the sleeping fellow was a humorous twist. The chicken was added as an afterthought. After the drawing was done he was changed to a bunny. I never bothered changing the drawing but the final sculpt will include a rabbit.  This project would be a combination of routed 30 lb Precision Board, welded steel (to make it good and strong) and some Abracadabra Sculpt.

The entire project routing file was designed in EnRoute. The first step was the vectors. The font called 'Quickdraw' is one I made some time ago, available at Letterhead Fonts  I bounced the letters around a bit to make it fun.

I added an outline around the letters and then duplicated the file. Only the outline was flipped to make it a double sided sign. The two sides of the sign were from 1.5" HDU. I made up one more copy of the outline to be routed as an extra layer to make the sign extra thick. This would be cut from 1" thick Precision Board.

I I then made up a triangle of 1.1" thick rectangles. This would be routed out to allow a welded steel frame to be embedded into the sign as a holder and reinforcement.

I positioned the merged triangle and then used the jigsaw tool to create new vectors which I would use as a cutting guide.

Then it was time to start in on building the relief. I built a flat relief and then added the raised lettering outline.

Then I modified the relief one more time by adding slightly domed letters.

On looking at the file I decided the holes or the steel were too close together to I went back a couple of steps and redid the triangle, making it larger. This allowed more of the triangle to hang out of the bottom of the sign..

Then I used the jigsaw tool once more to create the vectors I needed to make the outline I wanted, deleting the old ones.

The sign was now ready for tool pathing and ready to send to the MultiCam.

 Next time I'll show how I welded up the frame and made the sun ready for sculpting and paint. Stay tuned...