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, September 28, 2011

Rope trick

For every workshop one of the name plaques includes what I call the 'rope trick'. It is a very cool feature of EnRoute.

The vectors were straight forward. I would build this file in segments and then merge highest as a last step. This would allow me the ability to control and adjust the heights of all the elements with total control and flexibility.

For the rope border I created a series of circle vectors which were then combined. You can see the result in the shot below this one... the small rope cross section on the lower left of the frame.

First up was the frame border...  a simple domed relief.

Then it was time to create the rope. I opened the extrude contours menu and then the various options. I wanted to create a mesh object. This will be turned into a relief later after it is in position. The slices and stacks determine how detailed your mesh will be. I tend to crank things way up but it makes for large files. Then I type in how many revolutions the rope will twist...  this is a matter of trying a number and then doing it again with a different value if need be. Follow the steps in the menu to generate the mesh object.

When I created the mesh it does not appear because it creates it centered on the base line...  and my relief was taller than that - hiding it. Looking in the front view solved that. I used mu up arrow to nudge it into position( in the front view)

 Then I combined the relief and the mesh. When rendered it looks like this.  Once I was satisfied I deleted the mesh object.

I then created a domed relief for the center portion, imported a bitmap called  wiggly weave and applied it to the relief

Next I created a flat relief of the lettering border. This was then modified with an oval vector using the same settings I had used for the oval background. Once modified I nudged it up into position in the front view. Then I modified the relief once more by adding to the relief with the letter vectors to create the prismatic chiseled letters.

Then I combined everything together and sent it to the MultiCam. It was routed from 1.5" 30 lb Precision Board.