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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

EUREKA! All bent out of shape!

I've had the idea in my head for better than a year but never got around to testing it out until today. A few weeks ago when I visited Coastal Enterprises' operation in California I asked Chuck Miller if it was possible. He affirmed my notion to heat Precision Board up and then bend it to conform to a curve shape. His advice was to let the heat soak in real good because the Precision Board is a good insulator and doesn't transfer it well.

Today when I went into the house for lunch I popped a good size scrap into the oven and turned the heat to 200 degrees. Fifteen minutes later I threw on a pair of oven mitts and pulled it out of the oven.  It easily bent and then hardened quickly without memory of it's original shape. As per Chuck's advice I didn't overdo it... but with a teeny bit more heat I suspect much more of a bend is possible.  Keep in mind my experiment was done with 30 lb Precision Board.

With our upcoming pub project I can now easily achieve what I need. I'll do the routing first and then heat the pieces up to bend them, clamping them over a buck to harden. The curved mantle pieces I designed are now possible with a minimum of material going to waste. I have a few more ideas in my brain as well that may benefit from this new found technique!

More fun is in the works...