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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Building a 3D ships hull

Building seemingly complex files in EnRoute is something I enjoy immensely. It came hard at first but as I became familiar with the program and what I could do with it I enjoyed it more and more all the time. The key is to first learn and understand the program functions. Then, if you learn to visualize what you want and what happens inside EnRoute virtually anything is possible.

Today's project is the pirate ship boat hull for the Skallywag Bay primary sign that will be installed in Trinidad. I started with the drawing I had come up with some time ago. The sign will be a full 3D boat

I first created the boat as vectors. I also created a variety of vector shapes I would use to cut away certain sections of our base relief.

 The funny looking sphere is that shape for a definite reason. I know from experiments that this shape minus the zero height cutouts will work just fine for what I need. I used the dome tool to create this base relief.

I then created a zero height relief of the shape I want to cut away from the giant egg.

I then merged (LOWEST), first selecting the egg and subtracting the zero height relief and shape the top of the hull. I then created a zero height rectangular relief which will be used cut off the bottom of the hull.


When I was done these procedures the hull looked like this.

The slice tool was then used to slice the zero height portion off of the ship relief.

I then added the small front deck as a separate relief which I then combined with the hull shape.

 Next I used the slice tool to cut the half ship hull into three slices, each of which would fit into a 2" thick piece of 30 lb Precision Board. As a last step I modified the top slice of the relief by adding the window detail.

I'll duplicate and flip the sections to create the other half of the hull. It will be a foot thick by two feet long and about fourteen inches tall when it is all glued up. Well sculpt the detail over this form using sculpting epoxy.

We'll be building to of these ships at this size and another slightly smaller for the signs in Trinidad. I am looking forward to the project with a great deal of anticipation! First we have to wrap up our current project which will take another eight weeks or so. Then the fun begins anew on the next project. Stay tuned...