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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Horse Saloon sign - background

The Happy Horse Saloon has a false front with and arched top. The round sign will be attached inside the round portion in-between the two light boxes.

 The back of the Happy Horse Saloon sign wasn't much harder although it was critical that everything was done in a particular order to get the results I was looking for. I started with those  same vectors.

I started by creating a shallow domed relief. I started with half that and then looked in the front view to see how it looked. It needed a little more and eight degrees proved to be right.

I then added a 0.3" border around the letters. I would use this later. The center circle was made into a 2" tall flat relief. This is the thickness of 30lb Precision Board I will route the piece out of. The round barrel head will fasten to this circle.

I then imported the sandblasted wood bitmap texture from my TEXTURE MAGIC COLLECTION

Then I created new flat reliefs using the lettering border vectors.

This relief was then modified using the letter vectors.  I used the prismatic tool but limited the height. this created a 45 degree chamfer around the edges.

If you look close at the screen capture above you can see the lettering border disappears into the woodgrain where it is raised higher by the dome shape. To fix this I selected the lettering border reliefs and a new vector circle I made by offsetting outside edge of the sign. This acted as a mask to shape the lettering outline relief in a dome shape, the same as the sign.

I could then merge highest all of the lettering border reliefs to the base relief. At this point I decided to lose the horse shoes. They simply added clutter and weren't needed.

I then positioned the barrel relief  which I had earlier created to sit on top of the round sign base.

The file was now ready for tool patching and routing.

My router is still non-opertional until the new air compressor arrives. In the meantime I'll continue to create our needed files. Then well run it non-stop until we have all of the signs done. Stay tuned for more signs...