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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We can go back once in a while...

They say we can never go back. This week however, I had a chance to do just that. I was doing some work on a project that was started before we bought our MultiCam five years ago. Everything was done by hand in those days and our material selection was very different than we have now. I got to see how our project had fared out in the weather for about six years in a harsh, coastal, salt water environment. For the most part the adventure golf had weathered well, even though the maintenance had not been quite as vigorous as I had recommended. The project was largely built of sculpted concrete over a welded steel framework. Most of the features had been built in our (new) shop and then transported to the site. That was a first for us as previous to that we had built everything on site.

One of the first projects we did after getting our MultiCam was the highway sign for the project... almost five years ago. To ensure it fit in with the rest of the theme and the resort area I had used a wide variety of techniques and materials on the project. The sign had a welded steel frame, faux rock work (using manufactured stone), sculpted concrete, and routed Precision Board. I had used EnRoute to create the routing file. I remember struggling to incorporate textures into the lettering. It was all new to me back then and almost a first in the sign industry. It was all painted with acrylic paints. The neon and reader board were supplied by other vendors.
It was the first time we had combined so many different techniques and materials in one project. I was eager to see how they all had worked together and how they had held up in the harsh salt water environment of this site. The concrete had some minimal leaching on the seams, common for this situation. The acrylic paints had held up extremely well on all the substrates. I was especially pleased to see the routed and layered Precision Board was still in perfect shape.
My observations of this visit reinforced my decision made five years ago to purchase a MultiCam router along with EnRoute software and take this new venture to the max. Using a router has allowed me to take on large projects with a much smaller workforce to help me. It also made our projects much more transportable, allowing us to do much, much more in our shop rather than on the road. Working in a controlled environment meant we could control costs much better and also sleep in our own beds each night rather than in a hotel room.
After seeing how these 'new' methods have held up through the years compared to our old ways I am confident I made the right decision.