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, August 28, 2014

Treasure Quest - part two

After creating the lettering and tweaking it to my satisfaction it was on to making the reliefs. I first opened my driftwood bitmap from the TEXTURE MAGIC COLLECTION.  In EnRoute the imported bitmap opens as defined by the plate.

I then stretched it out to make the shape I desired. I then used the drawing tool to create the jagged outline I wanted for the sign.

I then selected the vector shape and used the dome tool to create a relief. When you use the dome tool on an irregular shape it doesn't come out perfectly smooth. Since this would be a rough piece of driftwood that was perfectly OK.

I then applied the bitmap to the relief.

I then used the sculpting tool to deepen the ridges in the driftwood relief. The effect is subtle and not easily seen on screen but it transforms a rather flat relief into pure magic. The endview of the piece shows the effect a little better.

I then duplicated the relief three times, flipping the center one to make the back of the sign. The top one I  took back to a vector outline as it would be a offset cut to create the center portion of the sign.

I drew a vector rectangle that fit the inch and a half square tubing that would form the structure for the sign. After positioning it I used the jigsaw tool to grab the outline we would cut. This formed the middle layer of the sign. I would cut this from 1.5" 30 lb Precision Board.

Then it was on to creating the letters for the sign. I started with the outside border, creating a flat relief. This was positioned vertically and then merged highest with the original relief.

Now I modified this relief by first adding the next letter bordering.

The last step was to modify the relief one more time by adding the bevelled letters. I used the constant height option.

With that the file was ready to tool path and then send to the MultiCam.

In my next post I'll show how the sign was assembled over the armature. Stay tuned...