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

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Horse Sculpt

The next sign to come off the MultiCam was the Happy Horse Saloon. It was routed from two layers of 2" thick 30 lb Precision Board. The sign measures 42" in diameter. I glued up the boards with a 3/4" thick plywood backer and then cut a large french cleat to the back. The sign will hang on the 45 degree cut cleat and also be securely screwed through the face ((we'll touch up the screw holes) For now I screwed a second cleat to the easel and then set to work.

I drew out the profile of a horse's head on some scrap 2" thick Precision Board and then cut it out using a jigsaw. This was then screwed and glued to the sign face. Sculpting could then begin. Sarah mixed up the Abracadabra Sculpting Epoxy while I did the sculpting. To build up the shape I first pressed on a thin layer of sculpting epoxy and then use it to glue on balled up tinfoil. It is easily shaped. Another thin layer of sculpt was applied and more balls of tinfoil until I had the rough shape clearly defined. I thin applied one more layer of sculpting epoxy into which I sculpted the detail.

As added insurance that the horse's head stays on the sign I also put in a bunch of 2" long screws into the sign at various angles. Then I sculpted the epoxy for the horse's mane over them. This makes it impossible for the head to pull away unless the sign is broken up badly, not likely with the crews going into three plus inches of 30 lb foam.

Here's a closeup of the solid epoxy sculpted around the screws.

Now we are on to paint. Stay tuned...