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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy to do - just as easy to fix

One of the great things about using a program like EnRoute with a CNC router is how fast we can produce something and then modify it if necessary. Changes are simple and quick. Today I designed the first sample eyebrow for over the house windows. Thee process was relatively easy. Routing was a simple offset cut using a 3/8" cutter.

I started with a window file I had created some weeks ago when we were creating the window bucks or forms. I used a rectangle as a point of reference to get the curves right. The first step was to create a segmented vector line that would become the curve of the facia board.

I used the point editing tool to curve the vectors to the shape I wanted. I would create one half of the eyebrow and then duplicate and flip it to make the other side.

The offset tool created a second line eight inches from the first. I then joined the ends to complete one half of the facia board.

The facia board half was then duplicated, flipped and aligned.

The two halves of the facia were then joined making them ready for the next step.

I created a new rectangle that was ninety-five inches wide. I positioned it over the facia board and then used the jigsaw tool to cut the facia in pieces so it could be routed from a 4'x8' sheet of 3/4" plywood.

I created enough pieces for two layers with staggered joints so they could be laminated together to form a strong facia board.

It took almost as long to warm up the MultiCam as it did to cut all the pieces. As always everything fir perfectly.

I could hardly wait to see how they looked up on the roof. We fastened them into position to see how it looked.

After some discussion it was decided that the eyebrows needed to be a little wider with a slightly shallower curve. It was back to the drawing board with EnRoute. It was a simple matter to recreate the vector curve and then stretch it out as needed. I went through the same steps to create a new routing file.

Tomorrow I'll route the new version of the eyebrow facia and fasten it into place, confident we get it right this time. Practice makes perfect and a router makes it EASY!