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, December 8, 2010

A honey of a sign

A number of weeks ago a client approached me about creating a new sign for their home businesses. He was a bee keeper and she a glass artist. Their business was called the Glass Hive Studio. They had a logo but it needed a rework to make it into a head turner sign. The client loved my first design and didn't change a thing. Then it was on to getting the necessary permissions which didn't prove to be too onerous.
Once approvals and the deposit were in hand we set to work. The vector file was largely done in Illustrator with the outlines and borders done in EnRoute Pro.  

The reliefs were generated separately and tweaked to suit then merged together. The lettering was built as a separate layer. The file will be routed separately, painted and then glued together.  A second set will be routed for the back side of the sign.

The lettering was built in a bevelled style on a slight arc. 

Then it was on to the router.  The file was to be routed from 30 lb Precision Board as is our custom. The entire sign fit within a full 4' x 8' sheet of material.

While the MultiCam worked I set about fabricating the lower steel structure for the frame. The cutting and welding of the frame only took a few minutes. Once the sign is routed I will bend a piece of 1.5" x 1.5" square tubing and weld it onto the top, wrapping around the sign at the appropriate radius. It is easier to do it with the sign present than to construct scale drawings and do the math.

Then as Sarah mixed the sculpting epoxy I wrapped and tied the expanded lath around the welded steel pencil rod, forming the outer layer of the trunk. A rough coat of sculpting epoxy was quickly put in place. In the next days I'll sculpt a detailed coat to form the bark on the tree.

In about half a day we made good progress on the dimensional sign. The router continues to run, but it's time to head in for supper.

Stay tuned...