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

Monday, May 30, 2016

New in EnRoute 6

I've had the chance to test drive EnRoute 6 for a while now and love it! There are a bunch of new things and many of the old things run better and faster than ever.

One of my favourite things about the new software is that the dongle is now a thing of the past. This means you simply open the program and GO! Modern technology is a wonderful thing!

There's lots of new symmetric textures. Text can now be copied and pasted from other programs.  The fourth axis on my router is now fully supported. And you can slice reliefs easier than ever before. There's now a freehand drawing tool that is pretty cool.

Here's the link to see all of the new features...   http://enroutesoftware.com/enroute-6

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MultiCam plasma magic

Today, using our MultiCam CNC plasma cutter we cut the last large piece for theViking ships designed for Motiongate in Dubai. Over the last weeks Peter has created more than 60 precise files using EnRoute software. Hundreds of pieces have been cut from heavy steel plate. This complicated project would have been much, much harder to do any other way. We love our Multicam!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Occasion Station

There is a second station for the train that travels around NEB's Garden. It is called the Occasion Station. It is a fanciful and ornate creation that speaks of the formal English garden in which it rests. With this project we will use EnRoute Software and our MultiCam CNC plasma cutter to the max. The station will be constructed primarily of plasma cut steel although a structural frame will be hidden inside.

The Occasion Station will be the site of innumerable family celebrations for such special occasions as birthday parties, picnics, easter egg hunts, pumpkin and Christmas tree festivals and a whole lot more. It will undoubtably be both challenging and FUN!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Designs for NEB's

Design work continues on the NEB's Fun World project. It will involve many different projects including miniature golf, a train, a micro brewery and much more. Over the next weeks I'll be doing lots of drawings. As soon as the Viking ships for Dubai are done we'll kick into making all of the ideas come to life. It's going to be fun!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dubai Viking ship progress

Since my last post showing the Viking ship frame we have made significant progress. The engineer required us to use heavy steel members with plenty of welding. The ship has to withstand lots of moving as we put it together, it travels to the galvanizer and also the long journey to Dubai in the middle east.

To facilitate it's removal from our (rather small) shop at to fit into the galvanizing vats it will break into six sections on each level. The portion that will sit in the water is thirty inches tall. The joining flange is made from eight sections of 3/8" thick plasma cut plate steel. Identical pieces were bolted together to form the seam.

We then began welding up the floor section of the hull. It is essentially a giant truss. We will finish the ship frame to this degree before unbolting the six sections and taking them out of the shop. We will reassemble the piece outside in the parking lot before we build the sides and upper keels of the ship. It will all be test fitted before it gets disassembled once more to go to the galvanizers. When that is done we'll reassemble the hull in two large sections for the concrete sculpture work. Two of these need to be built in the coming weeks.

The other project on the go is the targets. Water cannons on the ship will fire at these pieces. The largest is thirty feet long. We are about half way through tying on the galvanized wire mesh and it is looking pretty cool!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Designing with EnRoute

Almost any time I need to design something in scale EnRoute is my program of choice. The program can handle large scales without difficulty. I've designed entire theme parks using it. Currently we are in the preliminary stages of designing a new project. It will have many facets but the theme is an enchanted garden. To create the illusion of shrinking our guests to the size of fairies we'll build everything six times normal scale. One of the features will be a wheelbarrow. I designed the components of the wheelbarrow to scale using EnRoute. The figure and ground profilewas drawn with the new freehand drawing tool in the new version 6 of the software.

I then imported the drawing into PhotoShop where I manipulated the images to create a rough perspective view of the feature.

I then drew a new concept drawing using this as reference.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Heavy duty steel!

We've been busy this week welding up the lower sections of the hull. The cutting files for the plate sections were all designed in EnRoute and cut on the MultiCam CNC plasma cutter. Even though there are many large pieces, they went together very quickly on account of the accuracy of the cuts. Three days into the assembly we are making good progress!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A very big ship!

With the workshops now behind us we are full blast into building the Viking ships for the Motiongate project in Dubai. Between the workshops we kept the MultiCam CNC plasma cutter busy and cut through tons of steel plate. These custom cut pieces will form the shape of the hull at each level. They have been cleaned up and bevelled where they will be welded together.

We also brought in many hundreds of feet of heavy square steel tubing, pipe and angle iron which will be used to build the complicated structural framework of the ship.

Yesterday, we cleared the shop and began welding the precept pieces into place. It quickly became apparent just how massive the Viking ships will be... measuring almost forty feet long, seventeen feet high at the figurehead and fifteen feet wide through the beam of the ship. They fill up our shop in a hurry! The first section is below the waterline. The upper portions of the hull will bolt on top of this, disassembling to fit into the galvanizing, then partially bolted together for building and fitting into the shipping containers. It is BIG!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Time lapse of last Sculpture Magic Workshop

Through the years we have had numerous requests for a video of our workshops. We strongly believed that to properly experience a workshop you needed to be there, getting your hands dirty and engaging with us one on one. That belief hasn't changed. But thanks to our good friend JD who attended our last workshop we did capture much of it in a time lapse video. Even this is but a quick glimpse for it was only one room of the workshop and didn't include the meals, field trips or the things that happened outside.
There is so much going on at all times. Each time a question was asked we answered it verbally and also with a quick sketch or by referral to a handy sample. Much more than techniques are shared. My goal has always been to shake up every attendee to their core, making them question why they do what they do and what they wish to do in the future. In every workshop we've held, we immersed everyone in our unique world, surrounded and served by our extended family and staff. And we didn't throw our guests into the shallow end but right into the deep end of our pool. Our goal was to change lives and I believe it worked much of the time.
Was this truly the last workshop? Yup. At least in this format. I'll of course continue to attend conferences, teach at workshops sponsored by others and do speaking engagements as requested. I'll continue writing the blogs and magazine articles. E-books are in the works as well. This isn't the end but merely a turning of the page to go on to the next exciting chapter.