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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More than just a pretty face.

Structure is critical in our work. Structure comes in many forms starting with the substrates we choose. In our shop I like to use 30 or 40 lb Precision board exclusively while most shops stick with the less expensive 15-20lb HDU. The numbers refer to the pounds per cubic foot. The higher the number the denser and tougher the product is. I want to sleep good at night and knowing I have used the best possible product for our projects means they will be a LOT sturdier and withstand a lot more abuse down the road.

The small sign we are building now is a good example of our sturdy construction methods. When it came time to build the town crier's arm I first welded up a sturdy armature from 5/8" steel rod. This was epoxied deep into the 30 lb Precision Board. I know that no matter what this guy's arm is going to remain intact.

Once the steel rods were epoxied into place I did the sculpting of the hand and arm, knowing it will stay in place no matter what.

There is also some steel mesh embedded into his hat giving it a lot more strength like steel inside a concrete deck. Overkill? Perhaps, but if it never fails then it has done it's job.

I'll be sleeping well at night knowing the signs I build won't fail due to poor material and shortcuts in their construction. Most of my customers and those who see it will never know. Hopefully they will be concentrating on the pretty face.  :)