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, February 9, 2014

Happy Horse Saloon - Barrel portion

The next sign in the long series for the Cultus Lake project is for the Happy Horse Saloon. I'll be posting it in two separate posts. It is to be round, layered and feature a fully dimensional cartoon horse head. The head will be hand sculpted. I created the basic vectors for the sign in Illustrator and then imported them into EnRoute. I scaled it up to the right size.

The routing file for this sign would be routed in two parts, each to be layered up separately and then layered and glued. The first routing file I created was the round barrel head in the centre. This vector file was created entirely in EnRoute.

I first created the rim of the barrel as a flat relief.

I then modified this relief by adding a shallow dome to the centre portion (not shown) and then modified the relief once more by adding a bitmap woodgrain.

Then I built separate flat reliefs of varying heights to form the barrel staves. I'll hand carve the woodgrain into them as it is faster than modelling it in the computer. If I were doing multiple copies of this sign it would be a different matter.

I also built a separate flat rectangular relief in the centre. This will be used to attach the horse's head.

I then merged highest with the base relief to finish the file.

Next time I will build the background piece for the sign. Stay tuned...