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, September 21, 2013

First sign for Cultus Lake Adventure Park

Work has begun in earnest on the Cultus Lake Adventure Park project. One of the areas is a kids play area called Wilderness Trails. One of five projects started was this sign. 

To create the name I first drew it quickly in my sketchbook. Because the park is aimed at young kids I used upper and lower case letters and made it as readable as possible.  I then hand vectorized the drawing in a few minutes. 

I then imported the vectors into EnRoute and began building the sign file.

The first task was to create the lettering outline using the offset drawing tool.

I then imported the driftwood bitmap from the TEXTURE MAGIC COLLECTION. I used the vector drawing tool to draw the outline of the sign using the bitmap as a guide.

I then created a flat relief.

Then I applied the bitmap. Because this is a relatively large sign and I wanted a deep woodgrain I used a value of 0.3"

I then selected the lettering outline and made another flat relief. I entered the front view and nudged it into position vertically.

The lettering outline was then MERGED HIGHEST with the background relief.

The last step was to create the lettering by modifying the background relief. I used the dome tool with the base of the lettering being 0.2" high.  I used constant height to keep the letters the same height.

I had copied the file prior to merging it with the lettering outline this was flipped to create the back of the sign. I created a second copy and then deleted the relief to go back to the vector. I added two more vector shapes to create a void in the sign middle section to allow for the structural framework.

I used the combine tool to create the final vectors.

I drilled a hole in the sign center from the top and then placed the piece over the framework. I inserted a steel rod and welded it to the tubing using the void for access.

The back and front of the sign were then glued to the middle encasing the structural steel inside. The steel rod was protruding out of the top and the bird will be fastened to this for strength.

The steel framework will now be skinned with galvanized lath and then we'll sculpt the fiberglass reinforced concrete. It is going to be a cool sign! Stay tuned...