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

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Working up a logo from scratch

The fellows who are spraying the foam insulation in our new house are a startup company. I've known them for quite a while and they came to me to help them work up an identity and a dimensional sign of course. I first listened to their thoughts. The name of their company is Element Spray Foam. They had researched and trained extensively, done their homework thoroughly before starting the company. They were concerned about the environment and the saving of energy and were confident they could make an impact by providing proper insulation in houses which account for about 30% of the energy we use on a daily basis. 

When I sat down to create their logo I wanted to use green as a primary color. I also wanted to include a symbol that could be interpreted a number of ways. I thought of a leaf, a tree, a drop of water and a flame, signifying the environment, and the conservation of energy.  This symbol did the trick. Aside from the tweaking of the shade on the background I managed to nail it on the first go. These guys were a dream to work for.

The vectors were imported into EnRoute and then the fun began as I thought of ways to create their dimensional sign. I wanted the symbol to be dimensional of course. Creating it looked simple but involved a number of steps.

  First I created a leaf shape, mirroring the one vector that flowed along the stem of the one in the logo. This shape would be used to create a perfect teardrop shape.  Then I created a flat, zero height relief of the leaf shape with the stem cutouts. Once I had the reliefs I positioned them over top of one another.

I would use the merge highest command to create the shape I needed. The leaf shape with the stem cutouts was the base relief and was selected first.

Then I selected the full teardrop shape to merge to the bottom flat one.

Once the two shapes were merged I deleted the full teardrop shape to reveal the one with the cutouts. I then used the slice tool to slice off the bottom and reveal the shape I wanted. By doing this I could position the relief at any height I wanted without worry of having the crevices get in the way when I merged this shape with the background which I would create next.

I first selected the square outline to create a flat relief that was about an inch thick. Then I modified the relief by dropping the center portion down by half an inch.

I then added a texture to the background using my favorite 'SPLOTCHES'. In a subtle fashion it would resemble spray foam. 

The lettering was next created as separate flat reliefs.

Then I merged highest all the separate reliefs of the logo.

Then it was ready to tool path and sent to the MultiCam. As always it would be routed from 30 lb Precision Board.

The sign looked pretty snazzy off the router. I'll do a slight bit of tweaking on the stem with a little sculpt to booth things out there but other than that I was pretty satisfied with the result. The owners of the business were delighted. 

It will look even better in color I'm sure.