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, January 22, 2013

Building a train - Part six

It is always fun to dream up fanciful ideas but when it comes time to build these ideas a whole different logic takes over. We build for the real world where things have to be insanely strong. No failures are allowed.

Because Precision Board and other similar high density urethane boards have little structural strength we have to figure out ways to hide our structure in or behind the things we build. While we want the train to look like it is supported by the wheels and side bolsters the truth is a sturdy, welded steel frame will really be holding everything up.

I started with some heavy 3" X 3" angle iron that will sit on top of the ties. a routed Precision Board rail will hide this when we are done. 2" x 2" square tubing runs up behind the wheels vertically to the frame. The wheels and bolsters will be there for show alone.

Once I had a fully supported frame I could continue the fabricating the the train. A heavy stel deck was the next order of business.

Just before quitting time tonight I managed to cut the boiler pipes to length and then welded them together. Tomorrow I'll hoist them onto the train deck and begin the cab fabrication.

Tomorrow it will begin to look like a train. Stay tuned...