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

Monday, October 31, 2011

I've seen the future!

Today I am in transit to Orlando for the Sign Magic Workshop to begin in a couple of days. I flew via Dallas and had a four hour layover there. Normally I don't care much for layovers but this one was special. MultiCam's head office and manufacturing facilities are located within a stone's throw and John Harris, kindly offered me a tour. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

I knew the MultiCam facility was big, 100,000 square feet under one roof and another 40,000 square feet close by. That is a big space! We toured the office portion and then went through a door into the manufacturing portion. Cavernous best describes the space.

We walked up and down each long, long isle, poking in to each department. Our walk started in the massive, bulk steel department, through cutting, welding, finishing, painting, electrical, assembly and packing. It was truly impressive seeing machines in all stages of completion. Everything, every machine was oversize - make that huge. The CNC's were of every size shape and configuration. Along the sides of the large space were (relatively) smaller areas lines with racks of pieces, ready for when they were needed. Everything was in it's place, neat and organized. 

As we came to the end of our tour we came to a machine that was nearing it's final stages of assembly. I knew immediately whose machine this was for it was the only one like it I saw on the tour. This machine had my name on it. It was a 3000 series router, with a raised and extended gantry. The fourth axis bed was to the left side, pieces of the workings ready to be bolted together. The electronics were largely in place. It reminded me of the first time I saw one a MultiCam at a trade show six years ago.  I sat in front of the machine and watched it work but was really not seeing what it was doing. Instead I imagined what I might be able to make it do. Today, as I stood in front of the dream machine, I again had visions of it working in my shop. Higher gantry clearance and a fourth axis will give me unimagined capabilities. 

It is going to be fun! A large order of Precision BOard is also on the way, including some large blocks glued up especially for the fourth axis. The folks at EnRoute are working on ways we will employ this new technology. And as I start back from this trip in fourteen days the new MultiCam will also be in transit as well. The future is closer than ever!