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, January 15, 2012

Nose cone

For the nose cones of the ballon I decided to use the 3 axis part of the router. It was a quicker way of doing things in this case. I first measured up the balloon to determine the angle and size of the nose cone, then began building the file in EnRoute. I would use the revolve tool to build a mesh and then convert this to a relief. The red lines below show how I lined things up to a box of known dimensions.

 The screen shot below show the settings I used to create the mesh.  I skipped the first screen where I selected the contour to be revolved command.

The mesh lights up red when selected and the view button is turned on.

I then drew a vector box around the mesh. I used this to create a zero height relief.

I selected both which allowed me to select the merge mesh to relief button.  The round option allows the relief to be smoothed as desired. I left the smoothing amount in the middle. I also selected merge highest.

Then I hit apply and the screen capture shows how the red of the mesh peeks through a bit. I know the procedure worked as intended. I then deleted the mesh.

The next task was to create the slices I needed in order to fit my nose one pieces into a piece of 1.5" thick Precision Board.  The screen shot below shows the perimeters I entered to create two slices. Doing s creates the slices I need without touching the original file.

I pulled out the two slices I needed and selected them and then moved them to the bottom of the plate.

Then I duplicated them to make four copies. I flipped over the top section so they fit together nicely.

I created an offset vector line of 0.7" around ill the pieces and then made a zero height relief. Then I merged the pieces of the nose cone to the new relief and then deleted the cone pieces.

This created the routing file I would need. 

I tool pathed the file with a single pass using a 3/8" ball nose bit and an 80% overlap.

With the relatively large tool it didn't take long for the MultiCam to cut these parts.

Next up we'll glue them together and onto the balloon. After that is is time for a little sculpting to make it look like everything was hand made. Stay tuned...