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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Clear as a bell

In the last weeks whenever we've had young visitors to our property I've taken them into the shop to look at the train. The visit includes climbing into the train engine cab and trying out the whistle and bell - much to the delight of the kids. While I also took delight in the loud noises I was watching how the kids used the equipment, taking mental notes on how to improve things. The kids couldn't resist twisting the various taps (as intended). With the operating controls of the train on the right side the bell cord was on wrong side for the kids to pull. Back when I installed the bell I decided to create a fixed mount with the pull cord on the clanger. I noticed the younger kids pulled hard on the rope but didn't instinctively let go. The resulting CLANK wasn't right. Since I was gong to remount the bell to the other side of the train I decided to make a swing mount instead. While the old mount was made by hand we would have some high tech help this go around.

Using the brass bell as reference I drew it up roughly to scale, then using the drawing tools in EnRoute created the fancy shaped bracket. It would weld to the side of the steam dome of the locomotive as there wan't room on top. I combined the crescent shape of the bracket to the mounting flange. 

The bell bracket was a fun little project taking about two hours from start to finish. It's a whole lot easier to ring now and is a lot louder than previously. Kids are going to love it!

The pull arm was as simple as creating the arm shape and a donut on top and bottom. Once again the combine tool

I decided to add a few more holes in the bracket to be a little more decorative. The shaped would be welded into some 1" flatcar to create I-beams.  The top piece (with the hole in the centre is to be welded at right angles to the shape just below it. The bell will bolt to this piece and it will pivot to ring.