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

Sunday, December 18, 2011


 On the brick wall on the stage there will be a banner fasted to the wall. It has to be relatively thin to fit behind a wood carving (done by another artist). But I want the banner to have as much dimension as possible. To do this the middle will be fastened tight and the ends will be bowed out slightly with the scroll ends underneath. With the directed lighting it should look pretty good.

I first created the lettering vectors in Illustrator and imported the simple file to EnRoute.

I temporarily pulled the lettering out of the way, bent out the sides of my rectangle and then used the jigsaw tool to create the banner shape.

The lettering vectors were dropped down again into position on the scroll and given a 0.3" outline. I also used the drawing tool to quickly draw in a scroll end. This was duplicated and then flipped for the other side of the scroll.

The scroll ends will be routed as separate pieces so I pulled them off to the bottom.

The scroll was a simple flat relief that was 3/4" thick. The lettering outline was added to the base relief at 0.2" deep. Because the banner was a good sized piece and to be viewed from further way everything has to be a little bolder than normal. The scroll ends were flat reliefs 3/4" thick with the fold added at another 3/4" thick. I like to shape the scroll ends and fold by hand with the die grinder. I'll addd texture to the banner with the same tool. Both operations could be done with the router but I like the hand carved look. It will also tie the scroll to the hand carved wooden dogs better as well.

The beveled lettering was the last step. The shoulder height on the letters was 0.2" which again is a little higher than normal but appropriate for this application because of the size and viewing distance. 

I rearranged the pieces to best fit on the sheet of 30 lb 1.5" Precision Board, tool pathed the file and sent it off to the router.

Stay tuned for progress as I assemble and paint it in the coming days.