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, March 1, 2012

Good enough to eat!

The last time I made name plaques one of them looked a little like a plate of spaghetti. I decided I would try and push the envelope a little - just to see how far we could take it.

The first thing was to create a plate. I used the dome tool to create a negative impression.

What would become the spaghetti was done as a flat relief. The meatballs were created using the dome tool. Nothing hard here.

Then I applied a bitmap from my TEXTURE MAGIC collection. It is called spaghetti of course. I had to play with it a bit to figure out the right value to look good.

I modified the spaghetti oval and the meatballs by selecting them and a vector oval and then using the dome tool to hump up a good sized pile of delicious. 

I used one other bitmap - the old standby, SPLOTCHES, to give the meatballs some meaty texture.

The letter outline was created as a flat relief that was .75 inches tall. Then I used the same oval vector that I had used to hump up the spaghetti and meatballs (and the same value in the input box) to dome up the lettering outline.

Looking in the front view I had to nudge everything into place vertically. The lettering border needed to come way down while the spaghetti needed to go up a tich.

Then it was time to add the raised lettering. Because I had not yet merged everything together I modified the lettering outline relief by adding he lettering.

It is important to keep checking all the way through to make sure the program is doing what you had in mind.

I thought the lettering was looking a little plain. A very light pass with the splotches texture would fix that in a hurry!

Before we merged everything together it was time to look in the front view and nudge things up or down as necessary.

I had created a zero height relief that was a little over sized. It had a small step in the edge so the router but wouldn't be running up agains the full height block of Precision Board. I used this was the base to merge highest all the other pieces to.

The file was tool pathed with a 3/8 ball nose bit @ 50% overlap for the first pass and a 1/8" ball nose and an 80% overlap in the final. As quick as that we had a plate of spaghetti - complete with meatballs.

I hope Gary likes spaghetti 'cause it looks good enough to eat!