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 1, 2013

Window trim test

The new house interior will require many specialized and custom moldings. Today I created the first test piece. One of Janis' favorite themes is butterflies so we decided to incorporate them into the trim in the living and dining room areas. The trim will resemble the outside trim with the hearts.

As usual it started with a sketch - an idea. I sourced some butterfly shapes and I then created a silhouette of the shape. Because of the small scale of the final routed butterflies we decided the antenna and tail had to be eliminated. I then hand traced the shape to vectorize it abd tweaked it a little to make it the butterfly we wanted.

The vector of the butterfly and the test panel shape was imported into EnRoute.

I sized the butterflies and then duplicated them before tilting two of them left and right twenty degrees.

Then I randomly placed them through the panel.

I first created a flat relief of the background panel. It was half ( 0.5" ) the thickness of the panel.  Then, starting at the top I selected non-touching butterflies down through the panel. These would be the top butterflies. These were made into flat reliefs 0.8" tall. I left them selected when I went to the merge highest function to make them easier to locate.

Merging was done as always by first selecting the base relief (square box)  Make sure MERGE HIGHEST is selected.

Then I selected each butterfly relief in turn.

After the first group was finished it was time to move onto the second level of butterflies. These would be 0.7" tall reliefs. I started at the top once more and worked my way down selecting non-touching butterflies. These were made into reliefs like the first set and then merged to the base relief.

Lastly was the lowest level of butterflies which were made into reliefs that were 0.6" tall. These too were merged to the base relief to finish off the routed panels.

The panel was routed from 30 Lb Precision Board using a 3/8 ball nose bit to rough and then a 1/8" ball nose bit for the finish pass.

Finished we liked it for the most part but decided to make a couple little tweaks to make it better. We'll make the butterflies just a little larger. I'll adjust the spacing just a little as well.

Tomorrow I'll fire up the MultiCam one more time to hopefully get it right.