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

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It's both challenging and fun to come up with a different name plaque for every attendee of our workshops. While there are some that are somewhat similar there have been well over two hundred original name plaques created so far. creating the name plaques has been a great exercise that sharpens my skills as a designer and using EnRoute. We also use the name plaques to come up with new new painting techniques. We've learned lots along the way.

Joel's name plaque was next. With only four letters it begged to have a creative layout. Stacking the letters to create a square shape looked good too me.

The file was created totally in EnRoute.  The letters were modified to make them fit together properly. I shortened the horizontal strokes of the 'E' and 'L' to make them be the same combined width as the 'J' and the 'O'.  Once the vectors were in place I created a base relief using the dome tool.

Then I added a subtle texture over the entire relief using the 'SPLOTCHES' bitmap.

Then I used the subtract tool to drop the centre of the square base relief.

I then dropped the centre square one more time.

Then I raised the lettering border by modifying the base relief and the 'add to' function.

Then it was time to add a little more texture - this time the sandblasted wood (vertical) bitmap was used. You can see I stretched it out to cover the entire centre portion.

Then I used the bevel tool to add the lettering by modifying the base relief. note I used the contant heights the bevelled corners looked a little better.

The last step was to add the rivets around the edge using the dome tool.

The piece was routed from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board for perfect results.