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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Building the primary sign routing file

I started design for this project about four months ago. The sign was to be a teeny part of a very large project - an entire theme park. My client approved the design of the sign holder (the waterfall, wood base, small mountain and the lighthouse but wanted a rethink of the actual logo. His fear was that it was too childlike and not appealing enough to a broader and age varied demographic. He asked that we drop the ferris wheel and bear and revert to just the lettering.

 While we were at it I wanted to revisit the whole look of the logo. My concern was that my client loves to use big bill boards with photo backgrounds. These often are very busy. That meant the logo had to read well no matter where it was used. Wide, layered borders around the primary lettering and a plain banner with the words adventure park were the answer. My client agreed. Now at lst the sign is ready for routing.

Once we had a logo I imported them into EnRoute and our work building the routing files began.

This project was super simple, as it is just a whole bunch of layers. Rather than build them separately I like to whittle everything from one block. There is no failure of delimitation or lettering falling off that way. I selected the outermost letting outline and created a flat relief 0.5" tall.

Then I modified the relief by adding another layer using the next inner border. This was raised 0.3".

The next border was then added in the same fashion.

And then it was time to add the lettering, this time at 0.4" high. The inside of the letters was then lowered by using the subtract function at 0.2".

Then I built the banner below as a separate relief 1.3" tall. The two reliefs were then selected and by using the combine function (MERGE) they were made into one.


Lastly I modified the base relief using the lettering vectors. I uses the dome tool to create slightly rounded letters. As quick as that the file was ready for tool pathing.

Next time I'll show how we build the files to accommodate the secure mounting hardware. Stay tuned...