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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

One of a kind bridge

Before the large crown molding can go up around the living/dining room area we have to finish off the sides of the bridge that goes over the same area. I've been working on countless ideas for the bridge since well before we even started construction on the house. I've filled many pages of my sketchbook with these ideas but nothing clicked... until a couple of days ago.

I built a rough version of the file in Illustrator and then imported the file to EnRoute Pro.

The rough vectors needed a fair amount of reworking and tweaking. I only worked on one half of the bridge vectors, then deleted the roughs and duplicated and flipped the finals to form both sides of the bridge.

The scrolls would be raised to match the border and the background would feature the same butterflies as the panels on the window trim. Those areas are shown in grey.

The first step was to create a flat relief. Since the files were to be routed from 1" thick Precision Board with three layers of butterflies

I then arranged the butterflies for the background. I would go through them three times selecting every third butterfly. They were made into reliefs of three different heights and then merged highest with the background.

The file was tool pathed in two passes - a rough using a 3/8" ball nose bit with a 50% overlap and then a final pass using a 1/8" ball nose bit with an 80% overlap.

A final offset path was programmed to cut the piece out using a 3/8" cutter.