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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Checkerboard name plaque

With the Sign Magic Workshop now just over a month away it is time to get busy with the preparations. Each guest will receive a routed name plaque to take home with them. Through the years of the workshops I've designed and routed more than 200 of these name plaques - all different. they are a great way to learn the program!

For Kyle I decided a checkered flag would be cool. I wanted it to wave both vertically and horizontally. I would do it using some cool tools in EnRoute. I first created a rectangular flat relief. then I imported a checkered bitmap from my TEXTURE MAGIC COLLECTION.  I carefully sized the flat relief to fit the checkered squares.

I then applied this bitmap.

I then selected both the lettering vectors and the relief and using the distort tool formed ten into a wave pattern.

I added an outline using the offset drawing tool.

Then I added a subtle texture using a bitmap called SPLOTCHES. This would make the adding of glazes much easier later when we were doing the paint.

The lettering border was next, created as a separate flat relief.

Then I added the beveled lettering to the border. Notice the beveled letters have a base of 0.15" as this makes them easy to paint. I merged highest all the pieces to make one relief.

I then selected the base relief and the lettering vectors to add a subtle texture using the splotches bitmap once more but only to the letters this time. The border around the letters remained smooth.

To create the vertical wave in the flag I used another bitmap. The white would raise while the black did nothing, greys something in-between. I used a value of 0.6" which makes things pretty dramatic.

I tool pathed the name plaque using a 3/8" ball nose bit for the rough pass (50% overlap) and then a final pass was done with a 1/8" ball nose bit at 80% overlap. The flag was routed from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board.

Stay tuned for more name plaques in the coming days.