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, July 23, 2011


Every once in a while I seem to outsmart myself. The Golden Guppy sign was looking pretty fine... at least I thought so until I showed it to the owners of the Fox and Hounds Pub. They reminded me it was supposed to say 'Gilded Guppy' , So what to do.  I considered scrapping the sign and starting over, but I had done a fair amount of work. It would be easier to simply grind out the top section and insert a new piece with the correct wording.

Fortunately I had saved the vector files from the incorrect version. It was simply a matter of typing in the correct letters. I then kerned the letters and created them to outlines. This work was done in Illustrator. The file was then imported to EnRoute. I whipped up a shape through the center points, moved the letters out of the way and then used the jigsaw tool to create the needed shape. 

The letters were then brought back into position and an outline of 0.2" added. Not shown below, I used the vector modification tool to round out the ends to make them round. This would ensure no weird folds as I created a domed relief in the next step.

The 0.15" tall letter outlines were added to the relief.

The last step was to create the prism letters. It was then ready to tool path and send to the MultiCam. The first pass was with a 3/8" ball nose bit. The final pass was with a 1/8" ball nose bit with an eighty percent overlap.

 The patch was routed from a scrap of 1" thick piece of 30 lb Precision Board.

 I cut the ends square, marked the sign using it as a pattern, then used my die grinder to quickly take off the necessary material to make room for the new wording. It only took a few minutes. A little epoxy glue fastened things in place in a hurry.

 In the next few days I'll trim things even and add a little texture with my die grinder to match the original sign. There will be a little patching necessary which I'll do with some magic sculpt. Once the primer and paint goes on there will be no sign of the change. No one will be the wiser - except for the owners and I - and anyone who reads this blog.