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

Using a bitmap to slope a relief

Bill's name plaque is a great example of how I sometimes like to use bitmaps to create complex shapes in EnRoute. While it could be accomplished using sweep two rails I like the more organic look achieved with this method. Since the final results are to look like beaten copper plates riveted together it is even more appropriate to do it this way. 

We started as always with the vectors. I used a casual lettering and sized it ti fit the rivets between the two 'L's which are always tricky to kern.

Once I had create the four reliefs of the plates I imported a bitmap from my collection called uneven fade. It was sized and placed over each of the quadrants in turn and a value of .3" was inputed before executing. this effectively sloped each section so they could appear to overlap. 

I nudged them up or down a click or two to make each joint even, checking in the 3D render window.

Then I applied a second bitmap called Splotches over all four sections to make the panels look like hammered and aged metal.

I combined the four panels and then added to the relief using the dome tool to create the rivets.

The lettering border was built as a separate relief, and then nudged into position vertically.

Finally the bevelled lettering was added to complete the file

I always like to check it in the 3D render window one last time before I tool path it and send it to the MultiCam.

The routed panel is a great contrast in smooth bevelled letters and a textured panel. Painting this up will be fast and easy!