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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A gate like no other - part one

Ever since we first started talking seriously about getting the MultiCam Plasma cutter Peter has been wanting to build a gate. As per usual at our shop this would be no ordinary gate. We've long used a hand held plasma to cut shapes from steel. We built our first curved gate a long time ago. This gate would push the boundaries for sure by layering five layers of cut sheet steel and welding it over a curved frame to create a double sided forest scene, complete with wild life.

Peter designed the gate layers by first sketching out the idea on paper and then creating the final version in PhotoShop in five layers, each a slightly lighter shade of grey. These were stacked up to give an approximation of how the gate will appear when assembled.

The layers were imported into EnRoute in separate files and then using the trace function to create the vector files for the gate. EnRoute's tracing function is the best I have ever used and extremely fast.

Once the Vector files were done Peter drew up the centre join of the two halves and then used the jigsaw tool to create the two vectors.

Since the gate halves were larger than the steel sheets we were using he then had to decide where the cut lines would be so the pieces were easiest to weld together. Each of the five layers was done in this fashion.

The files were then tool patted and sent to the plasma cutter. While the pieces were being cut Peter and Jack started bending the steel and welding up the structural steel frame for the gate. Then they tacked the pieces in place and flipped the gate for final welding. The frame was built in one piece to be cut apart after the first layer of steel was welded on.