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, February 5, 2015

Another train engine

Trains are one of my favourite things and any time I get a chance to build one there is no hesitation. The second phase of Cultus Lake Adventure Park is now underway and one of the new rides is a Run Away Mine Train coaster. There is a good sized mountain we are building as part of the attraction. A train engine balanced precariously on some blown out mine tracks will be part of it. The train will be built of various mediums including welded steel, sculpted concrete and routed Board, all blended together seamlessly. The concept design looked like this...

The number of routed pieces will be somewhat limited on this project for it is all about using the fastest and most practical method for each component. The wheels were an obvious choice to be routed from Precision Board. I designed the vectors in EnRoute using the drawing tools.

 Like many of the more complex files I would create many separate files which would be combined as a last step in the building process. The first element is the tapered flange. This was created using the bevel tool.

The steel rim was next, a simple flat relief.

I could have waited longer but I like to get things out of the way as soon as possible to make the selection of future vectors easier. So I created an offset vector and then made a zero height flat relief.

The inner rim was next. It also was a flat relief which was then merged highest with the base relief

I then used the dome tool to create the spokes individually.

I then turned off the render function, selected all the spokes and entered the front view.  I used the up arrows to nudge the spoked up into position. The spoked were then merged highest with the background relief.

The counterweight and enters were then merged highest with the background relief.

The wheel was duplicated and tool patched in preparation for routing from three inch thick Precision Board.

Since I used a 3/8" ball nose bit to routed them it didn't take long. While the MultiCam was running I used the time to weld up the frame. In the next shot the wheels are being test fit to the chassis.

They looked good so I gave them a couple quick coats of the reactive iron paint and a spritz of the reactive solution. It wasn't long until they were looking like they were hundred year old weathered solid steel.  The driving rods and cylinders were made from various bits of scrap steel.

Once the running gear was all in place and the proportions decided it was time to begin work on the cab and boilers. More detail pieces are now to be designed for the router as we proceed. Stay tuned...