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, October 23, 2012

Fifty ways to build a relief - Part five

For the next version of the relief we started where we left off yesterday.  To begin adding to that version I created a small circle vector and then duplicated it three times. I aligned then using the various ALIGNMENT tools, making everything accurate.

I resized the circles to fit in-between the second and inside ovals.

Here's a closeup of the circles all lined up nice and even.
Then I used the WELD JOINED tool to unite the circles into one relief.

I opened the EXTRUDE CONTOURS menu and then selected the create mesh button. In the boxes I asked for 200 slices and 200 stacks. This is much higher than we need but it is a habit I've gotten into as it creates a very fine mesh. Modern computers can handle this size file really easy and EnRoute's render engines also redraw them instantly. I asked for eight revolutions as it created the mesh around the oval. I've used this tool so many times I had a pretty good idea of what would look good on this size of relief. This will take some experimentation to get good at. Then I followed the prompts in the box. First it asked me for the contour I wanted to extrude. I selected the cross section of the rope.

 Then I was prompted to I selected the second from last oval, then pushed the green apply check mark..

 In an instant EnRoute generated the rope. It shows up black.

When I hit the render button the rope mesh appears red. I dropped down the the front view and because I had aligned the original relief to the bottom of the plate the rope floated above it.

When I selected the rope mesh it turned green.

 I used the down key to nudge it into position, just a tad higher than half way into the base relief.

To get the APPLY MESH TO RELIEF button to become active I had to select both pieces. I opened the box and selected MERGE HIGHEST... then hit apply.

In an instant the mesh shape was applied to the base relief. When I hit render bits of yellow peek through the red mesh. This tells me everything is peachy keen. The mesh is still there, unaltered. I can either delete it or move it to an inactive layer.

This version of the fish plaque is now complete and looks extra snazzy.

 Tomorrow we'll begin once more creating a new version using bitmaps for texture.