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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mantle routing file

Yesterday the temporary floor which we worked on to build the 'London roofline' came down. I could then size up exactly how I would build the new fireplace facade. After looking things over I decided I would use a wood frame for the bulk of the construction and welded steel for the bits around the fireplace opening. All will be covered with a layer of sculpted concrete. I fastened a piece of plywood to the center portion of the fireplace and hung the family crest as a point of reference. Everything would be scaled to this. Then I framed in the mantle using 3/4" plywood. I will glue the routed 30 lb Precision Board over this form.

I then used the wooden mantle form to create a 1/4" plywood pattern in two halves. It is just a hair under 11 feet wide. I took a picture of this pattern to create the vectors I needed by simply tracing it out. My client requested 'genuine' Old English lettering for the pub name.

I did the Lettering in Illustrator but it could have been done in EnRoute. I then brought the vectors into EnRoute to begin creating the reliefs. Since my board (and router) are only eight feet long I needed to break the file into sections to route. I drew a box and brought the bottom corners in to the angle of the bend.  I also did an 0.7"outline of the mantle shape to enlarge the mantle front enough to put a 1/2" top and bottom piece of Precision Board on the mantle. I'll carve those in place with the die grinder. I deleted the original smaller mantle shape and used the jigsaw tool to create the three pieces of the mantle front.

The text was then centered on the mantle.

I created the three flat reliefs at 0.4" height. The I imported the horizontal sandblasted wood grain bitmap from my TEXTURE MAGIC collection. It stretched out to 12 feet without difficulty. I also stretched it out vertically to fit the mantle in a section of grain I liked. It was applied with a value of 0.2"

The lettering has a 0.3" border. I first created a relief using this border vector. This was merged highest with the mantle pieces. Lastly the bevelled lettering is added to the relief.

 The tool pathing was done with a 3/8" ball nose bit for the rough pass and a 1/8" ball nose bit for the final.

I'll route the pieces in the next days, and then install next week.