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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's all about reliefs

I started in on the Lark Rise post today. This is both challenging and FUN! To do a project like this you REALLY have to understand how to make reliefs, and what happens with the merge commands. There is no faking this kind of complex file. 

I first created vectors by hand tracing the various elements of the post. Some of these vectors would only be guidelines for the finished files. Others would need to be tweaked to make them work. The post will be created in sections that will fit together over a welded steel frame. Today's file would be the horse's head.

The flower decoration on the post was simple. I'll build this file tomorrow.

The horse head vectors were built separately. I had to think of what shape I would create as I formed the reliefs. I tested each relief shape as I went, and then adjusted the vectors until I was happy with the result.

I worked the vectors for the post all the way down. The middle section will be created as a relief that will wrap and create a 4 axis file that will be routed on the rotary MultiCam.

 EnRoute is an amazing program once you get a handle on the functions and understand what is possible. Each element was done individually with the exception of the eye and neck bulge which were added to reliefs.

These relief were combined by merging highest, merging lowest and merging by replacing with another relief. I clipped the bottom flat with another zero hight relief then used the slice command to take away the portion I didn't need. The end result is the stylized horse head I was seeking. It will take a little hand work to finish but not much.

I then created two 1.5" tall  slices to fit into the same thickness Precision Board, copied them and positioned them for routing. As quick as that the first section of the fancy post was ready to send to the MultiCam.

Stay tuned for more...