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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More EnRoute 5 fun!

I recently got a job where I had to do some things that previous versions of EnRoute couldn't handle. My client wanted a horse's head. I had downloaded an STL mesh file of a horse head some time ago and routed a sample. My client loved it but we needed it to top a post instead of being a wall mount. 

I first imported the mesh file. Unselected it is black. When we select the mesh it turns green.

When we render the mesh file it turns red.

I created a zero height relief, selected both the relief and the mesh, then merged highest. The mesh could now be deleted.

Then I did a zero height slice to remove the background.

Then it was time to give the new distort tool a workout. I decided to do a little at a time rather than go for big moves and create too much distortion.

To distort I grabbed the nodes and pulled. I was careful not to distort through the face area of the horse head relief. As you pull the nodes the grid over the relief distort but what happens is not evident until I hit enter. I pulled and stretched in eight operations to achieve the effect I wanted.

By this point I was liking what I saw. I did one more round of distortion just to widen out the base of the neck.

I wanted to clip off the bottom of the irregular shape to make it flat. The was a simple operation. I created a zero height relief rectangle and then merged lowest.

To get rid of the flat part I used the slice tool once more. then I duplicated the horse's head and flipped the copy. By machining the two sides I will have two halves to glue together making a complete head.

As quick as that I had a usable horse's head that I am sure my client will love. The new distortion tool proves to be perfect for this task.