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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The last ride sign is for the Kraken's Crew (bumper boats). I decided to go for the life preserver look with the KRAKEN peeking through.

I whipped up some simple vectors which wold be used to create the reliefs/

 I first used the extrude function to create a mesh object.

 Then I used the teardrop vector to create the body of the KRAKEN. I then flattened out the sub body in the front view and sized and positioned the conning tower (mesh) to fit.

I created a zero height relief and then merged the mesh to it.

At this point I realized that I had made the square zero height relief too small to encompass the submarine body. I backed up one step and stretched the zero height relief and then merged the mesh once more. Then after deleting the original relief I merged (highest) this relief with the sub shape. Take note of how I positioned the flat relief to effectively cut off the front of the teardrop shape.

This is the resulting relief of that operation.

Next up is the slice, where we'll create the layers that will fit inside the Precision Board we are routing it form. Since we are using 1.5" thick material the sub was sliced four times.

The engine halves were created using an oval vector and the dome tool. Then I created a zero height rectangle under it. By merging highest with this rectangle I would slice the ends off the egg.

I duplicated this shape flipped the copy and then duplicated the two pieces. Four halves would make two engines.

Then it was time for the lifesaver/sign. I use the dome tool to create the basic shape.

The lettering was added using the add to command and the flat relief tool.

The four pieces necessary for one half of the sub were duplicated and flipped. Then everything was arranged to fit on a 48" x 96" sheet of Precision Board.

I created one more piece for the sign - the middle layer that would house the welded steel frame. The weird shape opening is to allow me to cut steel with a 45 degree cut on one end and then be a random length (with a square cut on the other. This meant I didn't have to be precise with my cuts and this sped up the building process.

Once the pieces were off the MultiCam it was time weld up the sturdy steel frame and then to glue them up. The sign ring and Kraken were glued up separately. Once they were dry we welded the protruding legs to the post behind. Then I drilled for a steel peg and slipped the sub over it. The tail was tied to the post structure behind.

The next step is to finish the concrete sculpting on the mast and then to add the detail to the submarine using sculpting epoxy. Steel armatures will add strength to theKRAKEN arms which will protrude out of the front of the piece. Some hand sculpted ropes will also be added to the life preserver sign.