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

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


For our last sample I wanted to create something a little different. I first did a quick google search for 'Japanese symbols' 

The symbol for 'Friendship' was nice and simple and perfectly suitable for our sample. I then did a vector trace by hand. Rather than simply go around the outline I did each stroke individually, overlapping where necessary. When I create prismatic lettering letter this is the best way to get things nice and smooth without unsightly bumps where the strokes intersect.

I added two circle vectors and centred things visually.

I then used the dome tool to create a domed relief with a base of 0.3"

I then modified this relief by adding to it 0.15" using the flat tool

I then applied a texture bitmap from the TEXTURE MAGIC collection. This one is called 'checkerboard squiggles'  The key here was to enlarge the bitmap enough that my 1/8" ball nose bit fit between the lines. Then I carefully centered the pattern on the circle before I hit the apply key.

As per my style I created an outline around the friendship character.

This outline was used to create a separate flat relief. Height was 0.5"

I then modified the letter outline relief using the circle vector and the dome tool with the angle at the same value as when I created the plaque relief.

After nudging the letter outline relief into position vertically we could then MERGE HIGHEST to the base relief.

The last step in creating this relief was to add the lettering. I used the bevel tool with a base of 0.15"

I tool pathed the piece using a 3/8" ball nose bit for the rough pass (50% overlap) and then a 1/8" ball nose bit for the final pass (80% overlap). It was then sent to the MultiCam to be routed from 1" thjick 30 lb Precision Board.