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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sign easel

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In my studio that is often true. This past weekend I was doing my best to sort out things and glue up some more signs for the Fox & Hounds Pub project. There were a bunch scattered around various places in the studio in various stages of completion. It was time to come up with a solution to work on a number of projects at once. If at all possible I like to carve and paint my signs as they will be permanently mounted. They are transported in this same manner to minimize wear and tear as well.

Wall space is at a premium in my studio so hanging the signs on a wall to work on them was not an option. Also I needed whatever I created to be easily portable. Most importantly it needed to be STRONG as the signs I make can often weigh in at a hundred pounds of more. Than meant a welded steel frame was a must!

I didn't over think things but simply brought the steel off the rack and started cutting and welding. I had scrounged some cool steel brackets with castor already mointed. They allowed the whole assembly to be really low. To make things as comfortable as possible I wanted to be able to sit while I paint. This meant I had to build a floor on the stand.

As I worked I came up with more ideas to create a stand that would serve a variety of functions. A removable bar slides through the top tubing to allow one or two signs to hang from it on each side.  A side tray also will be a great place to keep the paint I need handy. A five gallon pail fastened under the shelf holds fresh rags for our glazing. I screwed some trim around the platform to make sure the chair doesn't roll off the edge.

I also fastened a piece of plywood to the back of the easel to hold a second sign. On both the front and back I screwed a French cleat to hang the signs which sported an opposite hanger. For those not in the know a French cleat is a piece of wood (I use 3/4" plywood) cut with a 45 degree angle. The weight of the sign alone keeps thing hanging securely.