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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Building the vehicles - part one

The Sign Challenge sculpture will have five hover vehicles circling around a central rocket. I built some common part files and then modified them to make each vehicle unique. I began by drawing up the concept art for two of the vehicles.

The file was built entirely in EnRoute. I built the vectors and then the reliefs as individual pieces, and then nudged them up or down in the front view to make everything work.

After I had built the reliefs I went into the front and side views to see how the pieces looked height wise in relation to each other. As needed I nudged them up or down.

I also rendered the piece after every operation to make sure I was achieving the results I wanted.

The round reliefs were then modified by dropping the center  about a quarter inch to form a pocket. The translucent lenses will be dropped into this space.

All of the reliefs were combined by using the MERGE HIGHEST command.

I then created a center relief with a zero height. This was merged lowest to form the hole in the center.

I duplicated these parts to form five pieces. Three were done in the size I built. Two were modified by scaling them, one shorter and one narrower. They were then tool pathed and sent off to the MultiCam to be routed from 1" thick 30 pound Precision Board.

Once the pieces came off the router I dropped in the lenses and I brushed on two coats of paint used a little sculpting epoxy to permanently fasten them in place. When the paint was dry I put the LED lights behind for a test run. It looked great!