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, July 6, 2011

Over a barrel

Back when I first started using EnRoute it seemed to be a pretty complex program. DAUNTING! But I found that by learning the basics and then building on this knowledge, step by step, it didn't take long to learn. Like anything it is about purposely taking the time to learn the program. It will take time. I have found that EnRoute, like most other 3D programs requires doing things in a certain order to achieve what we want. It requires planning and concentration - especially at the start. My brain isn't especially good at this type of linear approach... and yet I eventually managed to get a handle on it. If I can - ANYBODY CAN!

Today I received an email from a fellow who had taken my workshop a while back. He knew what was possible, but it has been a while since he took my course and had forgotten how to do certain things. While he had known what to do my friend hadn't taken the time to practice and become familiar with what he knew. Wanting to jump to light speed and knowing it WAS possible can prove frustrating at times. Ask me how I know.  :)

One of the things he wanted to build was a barrel. He sent me a picture. No problem. 

The first challenge is to build the vectors required. And they will look something like this.  I got the wrong number of bands on the barrel - but you get the idea. The vertical line is the centerline of the barrel.

I then opened the revolve contours  menu and simply followed the directions there. First off...  Select the contours to be revolved. It turns blue when selected. Then hit the forward arrow.

 Next up it asked me to select the axis of revolution. It turned red when selected. Then hit the green arrow to perform the function.

And PRESTO we have a wonderful barrel shape! But we need to remember this is a mesh object. We can't tool path this. We have to convert it to a relief first.

So I drew a vector shape around the barrel by first creating a rectangle and then using the vector modification arrow to bow out the sides. I then created a zero height relief.

I then selected both the barrel mesh AND the flat relief. This lights up the apply mesh to relief function. The pyramid shape applies it as is, while the round dome smooths the mesh as it creates the relief. I used the former as I didn't require smoothing. Make sure the merge highest is selected or wierd things will happen. Then hit apply.

You can now select and delete the mesh.

I then added the three rivets by adding to the barrel relief using the round, (dome) tool.

And there's you barrel - real easy.