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, March 12, 2016

Instant age

The rules of the Sign Challenge competition require that our pieces be shipped in a two foot by two foot box and then be pulled out and displayed on top. Rather than drape the box I decided to make it a part of the display. To maximize the size of the centre piece it meant the walls of the box needed to be as thin as possible. Steel construction was the obvious answer and with our MultiCam CNC plasma  handy the job was easy.

The files for the box were designed using EnRoute. The stars were drawn using the star creator. Nothing could be easier. I decided to use quarter sections of pipe for the corners with the radius to the inside.  The cutting of the steel plate took less than a half an hour. To weld all of the pieces together and grind it all smooth took about sixteen hours. It looked great already but the magic was yet to come.

Once the box was finished I carefully brushed on four coats of bright yellow paint. I let it cure and then broke out my orbital sander and proceeded to destroy the fancy paint and expose bare metal. I scratched things up randomly and even banged it around with my hammer. I wanted to add the look of age and hard use to match the tank displayed above it. I then judiciously applied the same 'swamp' glaze to create some appropriate grunge.As I added the antique look I imagined the kinds of knocks it might get in daily use.