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, December 24, 2015

Plasma cutter ease

When we took delivery of our MultiCam plasma cutter we weren't sure how much we would use it. Prior to that acquisition we had many base plates cut and the occasional shaped piece but it wasn't too often. Having the plasma cutter handy close at hand changed the way we do many things in the same manner that the CNC router did ten years ago. Few projects are done with the plasma cutter alone but rather the many cut metal pieces are integrated into larger projects which also use other tools along with our hand methods.

A current project is a great example. We are building a foot cart shaped like a large rowboat. We used the plasma cutter to shape the steel we needed for various parts of the primary structure. As we built the heavy frame it was an easy matter to have the machine cut the end covers for the forklift pockets to ensure the operator doesn't poke the forks through our decorative concrete in the front. The bottom plates for the fridge and the freezer were quickly cut from 3/8" thick plate. There is no worry they will ever rust out.

Once the welding was finished on the main frame we built a subframe of pencil rod. This was wired and then coated with the fibreglass-reinforced-concrete and carved as we often do. That workwas done in stages, tipping the boat on it's side to do the under parts. It just made things easier and quicker.

The plasma cutter again came in handy as we built the mast and upper rigging. It was so fast to measure the required pieces up and then let the machine cut them in seconds. Best of all they required little more than a touch of the grinder to make them ready.