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, September 26, 2013

Carving a gnarly tree

Work continues at a busy pace in our shop. It's my job to design and weld the structure for each piece. The fellows doing the lathing (tying on the galvanized diamond lath) are only a day or two behind and catching up fast. When the lathing is done we lather on a thick coat of fiberglass-reinforced-concrete and then wait just the right amount of time for the mud to set up and then carve like crazy. There is no stopping until the carving and cleanup is done. The key is to carve at the same speed as the mud went on for then it stays perfect. I carved this tree while TJ carved another piece. He also gave me a hand smoothing out the rocks.

Next I'll add the edge and end grain to the sign wood using an air powered die grinder. I'll also sculpt a cartoon bird which will be perched on the top and is to be fastened on the steel rod that sticks out of the top of the sign.

It was great fun to sculpt the gnarly detail into the twisted tree! 

Stay tuned as it all comes together in the next few days...