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, June 4, 2017

Gearing up for fun

We've made plenty of projects with gears through the years but this is the first time they will actually move and interact. That meant they had to be accurate without any fudging. A friend sent me a link for a simple gear making program a while back and using it made it easy to create the DXF files for the gears.  I made five different sized gears all with the same sized teeth. These files were imported into EnRoute.

I only kept the outer ring of the gears as I would create the rest inside EnRoute.

Without changing the scale of the gear rings I created the vectors for five different gears. This is almost all the way through the process. The largest gear is not yet complete. I used the jigsaw tool to create the spokes, then deleted the spokes.

I built reliefs of the various gears with the teeth being 0.4 inches thick. The hubs and rings were built up from that point. Once the gears were complete I duplicated them and tool pathed them In this case the reliefs and offset cuts were done with the same tool - a 1/4" end mill.

Once all of the machining was done it was time to fasten the two halves of the gears together. Thin I'll do a little distressing with the die grinder. Then the fun part begins - pressing in the bearings and arranging them on the sculpture. I'll have to design some funky brackets to cut on the plasma cutter for that stage. Stay tuned...