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, February 8, 2012

It's all about reliefs

I started in on the Lark Rise post today. This is both challenging and FUN! To do a project like this you REALLY have to understand how to make reliefs, and what happens with the merge commands. There is no faking this kind of complex file. 

I first created vectors by hand tracing the various elements of the post. Some of these vectors would only be guidelines for the finished files. Others would need to be tweaked to make them work. The post will be created in sections that will fit together over a welded steel frame. Today's file would be the horse's head.

The flower decoration on the post was simple. I'll build this file tomorrow.

The horse head vectors were built separately. I had to think of what shape I would create as I formed the reliefs. I tested each relief shape as I went, and then adjusted the vectors until I was happy with the result.

I worked the vectors for the post all the way down. The middle section will be created as a relief that will wrap and create a 4 axis file that will be routed on the rotary MultiCam.

 EnRoute is an amazing program once you get a handle on the functions and understand what is possible. Each element was done individually with the exception of the eye and neck bulge which were added to reliefs.

These relief were combined by merging highest, merging lowest and merging by replacing with another relief. I clipped the bottom flat with another zero hight relief then used the slice command to take away the portion I didn't need. The end result is the stylized horse head I was seeking. It will take a little hand work to finish but not much.

I then created two 1.5" tall  slices to fit into the same thickness Precision Board, copied them and positioned them for routing. As quick as that the first section of the fancy post was ready to send to the MultiCam.

Stay tuned for more...