It is hard to believe that it was only six 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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Designing in EnRoute

If I have to do a scale drawing for a project I will most often start inside EnRoute. It's the only cad program I have and it is also easy to use as a drawing program.

This past week I was asked to design a gate for a client. My instructions were
to create something really wild, but something that would match the house and fit into the neighborhood. It is a bit like shoot for the moon, but your feet can't leave the ground. But restrictions and limitations often force us to be extraordinarily creative. I was determined this be the case for this project.

The retaining walls on the property were constructed of a split face block. The house features timbers and smaller scale rock work. The obvious solution was to incorporate these elements into the design. Since the gate would lead to the shop at the back of the property my client's company emblem would also be featured on the gate. Since it is a residential neighborhood the company name would be left off.

I first worked out the basic idea as a scribble on paper and then I set to work in EnRoute with a clear idea of where I was going. The gate was to be twenty feet wide so I drew it 20" wide   1'0" = 1" in scale. I drew the basic shape for one side and then copied and mirrored it for the other. A curved line would be the center

The offset drawing tool was used to create the tubing around the outside. It only took a few seconds to get this far.

For the vertical bars of the gate I only had to draw one, the use the duplication tool to spread them a cross the gate. By selecting all the bars I could adjust them to fit perfectly.

Then I used the offset tool to determine the length of the spikes that are on top of the gate. Once the lines were drawn I used the jigsaw tool to create them individually.

The quarter round plates were next. The circles were positioned where they were needed and then I used the combine tool to get the shape I wanted.

Then I used the jigsaw tool to create the individual bars of the gates/

I neglected to get more screen shots of the progress but basically I created the shapes I needed and then used the jigsaw to perform that same maneuver to assemble the drawing. When I was done I grabbed a screenshot of the drawing and then imported that into Photoshop to create the final colored renderings. The first was with only the bars, which I submitted to my clients for comment. They asked for a second version with wood behind to make the gate more solid. This was the version that will be built.

While I could have used any number of programs to create this drawing EnRoute was the easiest way to do it in scale and complete it quickly.