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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ring that bell!

Today's project was a simple one but it shows an EnRoute tool I use a lot these days. The tool is the revolve tool. Once I learned it I found it easy and handy too!

The job was a small bell (actually two) for the Town Crier Whiskey sign(s). Everything was done in EnRoute. I first used the drawing tools to create a profile of half the bell. Then I drew the centerline. The profile would be revolved around this point. 

The tool in the men bar looks like a wineglass. Select this. Then I filled in the parameters I needed to create a mesh. (100 slices and 100stacks) I selected the profile (as prompted) before hitting the blue forward arrow. Then I selected the centerline. 

When I fit the checkmark I got an instant bell shaped mesh.

I then created a zero height relief. Once I was happy with the shape, size and position I selected both the mesh and the relief. This lit up the combine mesh button and allowed me to do just that. I could then delete the mesh.

I forgot to get any more screen captures but I used the slice tool to get rid of the zero height plate, then duplicated the bell three times to give me my four halves (for two bells) I arranged them and positioned them to cut in one piece from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board HDU. I used a 3/8" ball nose bit with an 80% overlap.  I knew it would leave slight tool marks but I am going to be covering the bell with sculpting epoxy in any case so it was of no concern. With the tool paths done it was time to fire up the MultiCam...

As you can see it cut in a hurry! I had the dust hood up and I was blowing with an air hose to keep things clear of dust for the video. Next time I'll show how we fastened the various pieces of the sign together. Stay tuned...