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, August 13, 2013

WORK should always be this fun!

The workshop/tool file was fun to do - just the kind of complex file I love to do. The key to doing this kind of work is to first have a clear idea of what you intend to do and then think about the order in which you need to do it. Understanding what a program like EnRoute can do is important. A file like this can teach us a lot in a hurry. Since there were so many steps and pictures I'll be posting this in two steps. We'll start with the word 'WORK'.

The vectors were done last time. Now it is time to create reliefs and then combine the various shapes to get the tool forms I want. I started with a zero height relief. This panel will be thickened up eventually but the math is a lot easier if I build everything on to of a zero height platform.

The 'W' resembles the old metal folding measure sticks. Starting on the left the heights of each piece decreases by 0.1" I first did the plain pieces, then subtracted the center portions. Lastly the washers and bolts were added.

The 'O' is a simple gear but it meshes with the back of the 'r' - just for fun so these two gears needed to be the same height..

The center of the gear was dropped and then the hub was raised up. Lastly I drilled a hole through the center by merging lowest with a zero height relief. The body of the 'r' was created as a little higher relief than the gear rack. The rivets were added last. All the pieces were then merged highest to the background.

The vice grips 'K' were fun to create.I started with the main handle using the dome tool used to create a shallow round shape.

Then each element of the vice grips were created as individual reliefs in varying heights as appropriate. I then merges highest with the background. The last step was to add the rivets.

The next post will cover the creation of the 'SHOP' file. Stay tuned...