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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kel-Mor signs

Because the little dump truck is to be paraded out onto the ice between periods at local hockey games it is important that the customer's name be extra large on the side. Lettering on the doors simply wouldn't have worked. I decided some dimensional lettering was a better idea. The MultiCam would do the bulk of the work for this task. I wanted to use a cartoon font and I had built such a font in just the style I wanted to use. It is available at  LETTERHEAD FONTS .  My pet peeve is to see someone use these fonts 'right out of the box'. They beg to be played with, the occasional letter resized or tweaked to make them more playful and work together. I of course always take it one step further. Because the letter style is so familiar to me I like to redraw it each time from scratch - on paper and then quickly digitize it to become a vector. Below is the quick scribble straight from my sketch book.

This was hand traced to become a vector. I tweaked things just a little to satisfy me.

 Then in EnRoute I added an outline.

I added one more outline and this would become my backing board which would be cut from medium density overlay plywood to add structural strength to the cut out Precision Board letters. I would also use this outline to create my routing zero height 'bowl' that would effectively cut out the letters as well.

The letter outline was added to the zero height relief.

Next I used the bevel tool to add the beveled letters.

As quick as that the file was ready for tool pathing.

I ran the file two times - one for each side of the truck.

The backer boards for the sign were cut from double sided half inch medium density overlay using an offset cut.

Here's the sign mocked up before painting.

Matt holds the sign roughly where it will go on the truck. Painted in bright colors is should be plenty readable from anywhere in the arena.

Tonight we'll finish the welding on the box and hopefully the bulk of the sculpting as well meaning there is only paint to be applied after that. We are almost ready for a test drive!