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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Simple is sometimes better.

Square or rectangular is the shape my materials arrive. It's not often I make signs that shape. But every once in a while the design of the project is such that a square or rectangular sign is the very best way to go. Simple is sometimes better.

The entrance feature we are building for Oyama Estates is one such project. The rock work is monumental, measuring more than nine feet tall and twenty feet wide on each side of the road. Sculpted by Phoenix Bermudez of Stone Tree Studios it is layered and rough and will be colorful too. The big bonsai tree which we sculpted will perch on top and will add to the mix. To fulfill the feeling of tranquility we are seeking to achieve, the signs I designed for the project needed to be very simple and elegant.

There is one for each side, measuring at just over five feet wide. They feature raised bevelled lettering and a mild texture. Each was designed in EnRoute, using the same background and then adding different lettering. In this fashion I only had to build the bulk of the file but once. The signs were routed from 30 lb Precision Board using a 3/8" ball nose bit to rough cut and a 1/8" bit for the final pass. I then added a heavy texture coat of Coastal Enterprises primer and then the usual acrylic paints for the base color. I layered on multiple glazes to build up rich colors on the background, resembling the look of leather when I was done. The gold leaf on the lettering was the finishing touch and adds an elegance impossible in any other medium.  The border is textured and beveled as well to add depth and play in the light. I look forward to seeing them in place on the rock, the simple icing on a complex, multilayered cake.

Once in a long while square is best.