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

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Period design for California dude...

Gary's panel for the Sign Magic Workshop stumped me for a bit. He is traveling from central California. I tried a bunch of ideas in my sketch book before deciding on a classic 'gold rush' feel for the panel. I dug out a decorative element from my David Butler Gold collection and used parts of that in the vector design. The lettering has that same gold rush feel. The font comes from www.letterheadfonts.com
The letting would be deeply bevelled with some 'sandblasted' woodgrain as a background. I used a woodgrain bitmap from my collection to achieve that look. This image was created using an actual sandblasted sign from more than two decades ago as a starting point. It has been tweaked and modified to work as a routing file. The file was much larger than I needed (as often happens. The area in the dotted red lines was the tiny portion used for this project.
The panel looks complex and difficult but is actually really simple. Once I had all the relief elements created and then positioned vertically to my satisfaction I then merged everything together to make the final relief.
The relief was tool pathed using a 3/8" ball nose bit with a 1/8" ball nose for the final pass. Then it was sent to the MultiCam to make my imagined piece real in well under an hour from start to finish. I have one more panel to go before I break out the primer and paint...