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, March 3, 2012

Pure Magic

More than six years ago I clearly remember watching my shiny new MultiCam run down the table, stop at a precise location and then magically carve away at a piece of Precision Board to reveal the piece I had designed a few minutes previously at my desk. It was pure MAGIC.

The pieces I designed at first were very simple for I had so much to learn. As most quickly figure out EnRoute has a pretty steep learning curve - especially if you want to do more than use your router as a very expensive jig saw. And I wanted to do so much more!

Each day I would try to add one more trick to my tool set. I knew what I wanted to create, but getting the program to do it was difficult - especially at first. As I became familiar with the controls I found I could imagine almost anything and then methodically build shapes, add, take away or modify to get what I wanted. The only limits were my skill level and my imagination. 

These days I am very comfortable with the workings of EnRoute. I find it best that the room I am working needs to be quiet - no radio playing or distractions. Things need to be done in a precise order - from start to finish. Sometimes unexpected things happen. Rather than frustrating me I take note for I will use that command down the road to do something new and different. Then I back up a step and try something different.

The name tags for the Sign Magic Workshops are a chance to get a little crazy, to try out many new things. The whole idea is to go down roads I haven't travelled before. Creating a bunch of original name tags tunes up my skills and familiarizes me with things I haven't used for a while. It is necessary  practice before I sit down to teach another workshop. I would highly recommend this task to anyone who wants to really learn to use EnRoute to it's fullest. 

One of the name tags I created this past week was especially fun. The plaque was for Kurt who will be traveling from Pennsylvania for the Sculpting Magic Workshop. I got so wrapped up in the job I forgot to grab screen shots so I have no step by step for this piece. I'll let you figure it out like I did. :)

When I sent the file to the MultiCam I simply had to go to the router room and watch for a while. I felt that same feeling of seeing pure MAGIC happen as with my first piece more than six years ago. It was fun!

I hope you have as much fun creating files and routing as I do!