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, August 3, 2015

Finishing off the dog

We often get comments about how hard it must be to do the detailed painting of our pieces. The truth is the process is actually very simple and quick. The key is to design it so it works that way. Painting the pieces in the correct order also minimizes the cutting we need to do. While some like to paint individual pieces and then do the final assembly we like to paint fully assembled pieces most of the time. Although I posted the first two pictures previously I thought it would be best to show them once more as I talked about the painting processes. We start with a primer, FSC-88-WB made by Coastal Enterprises, the same folks who make our Precision Board. The primer is thick, between cream and sour cream...  we brush it on fairly thick with a small brush and purposely leave brush strokes to add a little more texture where desired.

When the primer dries we brush on two coats of a base color over the entire piece. Then a blended coat is done, once more using a small artist's brush. This shot show that stage. Then the dark brown was brushed on for the eyes and nose. The darker areas around the mouth, nose and eyes was dry brushed on. The brush is lightly loaded and then brushed on a towel to remove most of the paint before gently being added, layer after layer where needed. This takes patience mostly but still happens in a few minutes of work.  

Everything is then allowed to dry under a fan for at least three hours. The last stage of the dog is he glaze. We mix our own glazes using a clear base and whatever color paint we wish to use. Generally they are mixed fifty-fifty but in this case we wanted the glaze to be really transparent so we mixed three parts clear base with one part dark brown. We first got our clean, soft towels in place and made our plan of attack, for once the glaze begins to dry you are hooped. I started brushing the glaze on with a large brush and when I got partway done my helper began to gently rub it off, leaving it in the deeper parts of the texture. The key is to keep a wet line on the glaze and wipe off quickly. There is no going back for a second try. Once the glazing on the dog was done the piece is put under the fans once more to cure.

When the paint was dry I came back with the red. The only cutting was around the dog which was relatively simple. I put on three coats of red paint over a period of two hours. I let it dry overnight and then came back and painted the lettering. Because I had designed it to be raised from the background it was easy to just paint the tops. Three coats of white paint, done in about ten minutes (allowing to dry in between) did the trick. This piece is now ready for delivery.