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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tropical challenge

Mark is in the process of moving to Hawaii. I figured we would celebrate that with a tropical theme for his name plaque. After a little head scratching I came up with the idea of a leaf for his name plate. The lettering style is very casual of course and the leaf was quickly drawn in EnRoute. The stem of the leaf was drawn separately

I took a screen capture and then after adding another layer in Adobe Photoshop and a big fat, sift brush I quickly drew the outline. I kept in mind that black would do nothing, white would raise up the most and grays would do less, depending on its value.

Then I deleted the screen capture of the vector and saved the bitmap I had created. This would be imported it into EnRoute and sized and positioned it over the vectors a little later.

Then I selected the vector and created a flat relief.

Then I used the oval vector to modify the leaf relief with the dome tool.

The bitmap I had created earlier was then imported and positioned over the leaf shape. I used a .75" value in the parameters which meant it bowed up the white .75"

Combined with the previous dome shape it was looking pretty fine - and tropical already.

The stem relief was created next with the dome tool and this was modified with the oval vector and then nudged to the right height. The lettering outline was next, first as a flat relief and then modified with the oval. Lastly the oval vector was used to create a plaque for the background.I used the bevel tool but limited the height to make a bevelled edge. Everything was merged highest before I added the slightly domed lettering.

Then at last it was time to carve the piece from the 30 lb Precision Board. I was pleased with the result!