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

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It's both challenging and fun to come up with a different name plaque for every attendee of our workshops. While there are some that are somewhat similar there have been well over two hundred original name plaques created so far. creating the name plaques has been a great exercise that sharpens my skills as a designer and using EnRoute. We also use the name plaques to come up with new new painting techniques. We've learned lots along the way.

Joel's name plaque was next. With only four letters it begged to have a creative layout. Stacking the letters to create a square shape looked good too me.

The file was created totally in EnRoute.  The letters were modified to make them fit together properly. I shortened the horizontal strokes of the 'E' and 'L' to make them be the same combined width as the 'J' and the 'O'.  Once the vectors were in place I created a base relief using the dome tool.

Then I added a subtle texture over the entire relief using the 'SPLOTCHES' bitmap.

Then I used the subtract tool to drop the centre of the square base relief.

I then dropped the centre square one more time.

Then I raised the lettering border by modifying the base relief and the 'add to' function.

Then it was time to add a little more texture - this time the sandblasted wood (vertical) bitmap was used. You can see I stretched it out to cover the entire centre portion.

Then I used the bevel tool to add the lettering by modifying the base relief. note I used the contant heights the bevelled corners looked a little better.

The last step was to add the rivets around the edge using the dome tool.

The piece was routed from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board for perfect results.