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, December 29, 2011

Marketing - seven year old style

Phoebe (my seven year old grand daughter) is big into 'owning and operating' a store these days. All through the holidays she has been busy producing copious amounts of drawings and other art and then selling them to relatives - especially her grampa. The proceeds she is donating to Pipsqueak Paddocks. (her idea). www.pipsqueakpaddocks.com   She has a table set up in the play room. The art is carefully laid out in an elaborate display. Paper signs she has designed and colored are taped to the walls. Hand drawn business cards (complete with her own logo) with all her information are handed out to those she meets to spread the word of her enterprise.
Since before Christmas she has been asking if I could please make her a real dimensional sign. I of course said yes but needed a design. Today she was helping in the shop and she went into the studio for a long time while I was busy. She came out with a design in hand - all excuses were gone.

Dragons seem to be Phoebe's current interest and so her sign features a nice one - holding a sign with her name on it. She explained the design at great length to me. It would be 24" wide and showed me how big that would be with her very own tape measure. The sky (background) would be blue. The sun would have to be yellow (like in all her drawings) The dragon would be colored as pictured. It needed hangers with real chains so it would be very strong. And I was not to worry about the details for she would help me as we got that far into the production of the sign. She also set a deadline. Could I please have the sign ready in 3 days?  I told her it would indeed be possible if she helped me.
With Phoebe looking carefully over my shoulder I painstakingly drew out the vector art I would need to do the routing file for her sign. She corrected me when I strayed too far from her original design.

Then I created the routing file which we'll put on the machine tomorrow. The file was pretty basic. To create a childlike sculpture of Phoebe's dragon I simply let the software determine the shape of the rounded body. The exception was the mouth which I formed by merging (lowest) a wedge shaped piece of zero height. The scales on the dragon's back were flat reliefs. All the reliefs were built separately , moved to the right height and then merged highest for form the 3D picture Phoebe was after.

Phoebe is very excited about finishing her very first sign! Stay tuned...

-grampa dan