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, September 19, 2016

Coat of arms

Peter Sawatzky, my partner (and son) also works with EnRoute and our MultiCam CNC router and plasma cutter. He does some pretty amazing projects. From time to time he'll be posting them here. It is our hope that with one more voice describing his techniques and methods, hopefully there will be one more source of learning and inspiration. His first post if a little family crest he did for his lovely wife, Hailey's recent birthday.
  • Import your design into Enroute.

I start the project with a loose sketch of a coat of arms featuring a zebra head and three bumblebees.

  • Draw your shapes in Enroute.

Using my sketch as a guide, I carefully draw each of the shapes I will use to create my reliefs.

  • Create your reliefs.

Each of the reliefs is created separately - they will be merged together just before toolpathing.

The majority of the reliefs are made with the flat and round "create relief" tools. However the bee's wings are made with the "smooth relief edit" tool.

Using the "smooth relief edit" tool, I slowly build up the ends of the wings so that they emerge from the bee's body.

  • Apply bitmaps to your reliefs.

The ribbon appears to wind over and under itself -  this is done by applying a custom bitmap to the ribbon relief.

I use a black and white image - when I apply the bitmap to the relief the black areas do not change my relief but the white areas raise my relief 0.25". Basically, the lighter the shade of grey the higher it raises my relief.

The stripes on the zebra are applied using the same technique. However, I set the white areas to raise the zebra relief a tenth of an inch.

  • Merge your reliefs and add your toolpaths

Once each of the pieces has been finished I align and merge them to create a single relief ready for toolpathing.

Once routed, the coat of arms is ready for paint.