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

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twisted metal

The second name panel I would create for the Sign Magic Workshop was for Doug from Illinois. I knew he was into rusty, weathered (faux) metal and rivets. I also knew he claimed to be a member of the "Blind Magicians of the Orient." I would combine these two ideas into one name plaque. The premise of the piece is that it is an old piece of a ship wreck, salvaged from the deep. The name of the ship is 'DOUG' of course. A few of the rivets on the slightly stressed and twisted metal are missing. But if you take into account the clues above namely 'Blind Magicians' you will notice the triple row of rivets spell out MAGIC in braille.
This vector file was relatively simple, comprised of two panels, a triple row of rivets, and the lettering. It only took minutes to create. I then created simple reliefs in EnRoute adding a simple fade/blend bitmap to create the twist in the metal.
Then I used a second bitmap file from my collection called Splotches 2 which creates a deeply pitted look to faux metal.
The rivets were simple rounded reliefs. The missing reliefs were done as zero height reliefs which effectively drilled holes when I merged lowest with the main relief. The lettering was a simple 0.2" tall relief.
The file was tool pathed with a rough cut using a 3/8" ball nose bit and the final pass was done with a 80% overlap using a 1/8" ball nose bit. As the MultiCam churned away I was back to my desk with another inspiration for the next panel...