It is hard to believe that it was only seven 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 - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research I quickly found out that with the relative simplicity of EnRoute, CNC routers were capable of just about anything imaginable. This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as we continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful software... -dan

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The sign comes together quick

The routing files for the Shmyer's Harbor sign consisted of four pieces. I built each relief separately, then added textures to key pieces. Then I 'floated' them separately until things looked right rendered. Before I merged them I made duplicate copies of the scroll and sign, flipping them so they matched back to back. The lettering was also duplicated and applied to each so it read correctly. They were stacked to best fit on our piece of 1.5" thick Precision Board. Tool-pathing took only seconds once we had everything arranged correctly.
The file was sent to our MultiCam and the machine was set into motion. While the machine was routing I started in on the welded steel brackets for the sign. It would have been ideal to simply cut some large angle iron for the corner pieces but I didn't have any of that on the steel rack. Instead I cut two lengths of 4" square tubing and then split it to give me the right angle pieces I needed. Some short lengths of 5/8" steel bar was pushed through a hole I burned with the plasma cutter and then welded on. A hollow steel ball was welded onto the end of two of the rods. The other two were kept over length and would be finished off after the assembly and mounting of the sign.
Once the pieces came off the MultiCam I glued everything up. The sign was 6" thick at it's thickest point - more than enough to accommodate the little boat. It took a forest of clamps to hold everything in place while the glue set.
Stay tuned for final assembly and paint...