It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated with what I saw 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 and LOTS of hands-on practice I quickly found out that my MultiCam router was capable of just about anything imaginable.This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as I continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful tool... -dan

Monday, December 31, 2012

Wood carver install

Yesterday was finally time to install the wood carver figure we had sculpted. The hardest part of the install was hoisting it up on the scaffold. once we got it into position it took less and 30 seconds to slip in the routed shutters and then screw it securely to the wall. My client's carpenter will finish the trim around it to blend everything in like it should be.

I'll go back in a day or two after the carpenter had finished and the scaffold is gone for a few more pictures.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Whistle build

A whistle punk was a young lad (generally) who's job it was to blow whistle signals that warned the loggers out in the bush that the steam donkey was about to tighten up the cables to drag another log out of the woods. His job was also to make sure any wayward sparks from the wood fired boiler got put out before they started any fires in the woods.

The logo and sign feature a three dimensional, slightly cartoonized steam whistle. Building the file in EnRoute is pretty easy. First off I imported the drawing of the logo/sign. This would be used for reference alone.

Then, using the shape drawing tools I created a rough version of the whistle. This, once more is for reference alone.

I then used the line drawing tool to quickly create an approximation of the whistle and valve shape.

Then using the point edit tool I tweaked the vectors until I had the shape I wanted.

I then used these vectors and the revolve tool to create mesh files.

These meshes were then merged highest with a zero height relief.

I selected this relief and using the slice command removed the background.

I then resized the relief of the whistle in relation to the sign.

Since the whistle was quite large the next task was to slice it to the thickness of the Precision Board.

 The end result was the pieces I would route. These will be duplicated to form a fully dimensional piece.

Next week the files will be sent off to the MultiCam and the fun will begin.


First WhistlePunk sign

The first file I created for the WhistlePunk Hollow Adventure Golf Project was the primary sign. It will be reproduced in various scales and so I kept this in mind as I designed the file. This primarily applied to widths of borders and such. The largest sign was designed to fit onto a 4'x8' piece of Precision Board. The whistle file will be built separately which I will cover in the next post. I built two versions of the sign, one with 'Adventure Golf' along the bottom and one without.

The first task was to distort the bitmap I would use to add texture. The bitmap is from the Texture Magic Collection and is called DRIFTWOOD.  I distorted the bitmap in PhotoShop, then duplicated it and positioned the second copy above the first. I did a little blending with the eraser tool and then merged the two layers together and saved the file to import into EnRoute

I forgot to grab a screen capture of the vectors but the lettering was created from scratch in Illustrator. The rest of the vectors were done in EnRoute. I stretched out the bitmap a bit to match the arc I wanted for the sign. Then I quickly drew the vector outline of the sign using the bitmap as a guide. The top oval was built separately as were the two part circles on each side.

The jigsaw tool made building the flat bottom oval an instantly quick procedure.

I used the outline tool to add the letter borders around the lettering.  Circles would become the fastening dowels to 'hold' the sign in place. I also added the bottom panel for one version of the sign.

The first step was to create a flat relief with a 1" height.

Then I applied the warped driftwood bitmap. Because the sign is a good size and I wanted a deep woodgrain the bitmap value was increased to 0.25" high.  I then used the sculpting tool to deepen the texture of the relief.

The sign is to be built in layers, I applied the driftwood bitmap texture to the background of the holed piece of the sign.

The biggest lettering outline was created as a new flat relief. It was then merged with the base relief (Sign)  Then I selected the lettering outline and the base relief to modify the relief by adding the letters. Once more I wanted things a little higher than what I do most of the time and so raised the lettering 1/4".

The last step to this part is the adding of the sunken center of the lettering. 

To create the bevelled dowels I used the Bevel create relief command... but limited the height to create the bevel,

I applied a sandblasted woodgrain texture bitmap.

The the various reliefs were positioned vertically (in the front view) and merged highest.

This completed one of the files. For the second one I would add the 'ADVENUTRE GOLF' panel. The panel is a simple domed relief. I added the 'splotches' bitmap (from the TEXTURE MAGIC Collection) I inserted a small number 0.1" to keep the texture subtle.

Then this relief was modified two time, first to add the letter border and then to add the lettering.

The reliefs were combined and the file was ready to go.

The sign(s) will be routed on our MultiCam from 30 lb Precision Board.

Next up is the whistle.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Major project announcement for 2013

As 2012 rapidly winds down we find ourselves beginning the planning for 2013. It looks to be a busy year without a doubt. I'll be busy with all kinds of wonderful projects. Work in the new house, especially for the router is really just beginning. In the next few weeks I'll be building lots of files and the MultiCam will be kept busy. I'll document that process here of course.

But the shop will also be busy with customer projects with one very large one to start in the first few days of the year. We are building an adventure golf for a customer in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. It is a little more than two hours drive from us. The design is done and everything is ready to go. Here's a sneak peek at the drawings.

Some aspects of the project like the signs will be largely done on the router of course.

One of the largest pieces for the project will require a lot of design in EnRoute. Much of the geared logging locomotive will be routed from 30 lb Precision Board on the MultiCam and then assembled over a welded steel framework. It will be entirely prefabricated in the shop and then transported and lifted into place on site.

The truck will be largely sculpted in concrete but the sign on the log will be routed .

There will be plenty to show many step by steps of the process in the next couple of months.


Stay tuned for a very busy year!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sculpting a carpenter

We've been working on a fun little project that is now almost complete. It involved a little routing.

Our client is a police officer, soon to retire. He is building a workshop out back of his new house where he will create wooden projects. He asked us to make a wood carver figure to lean out of a faux window above the door.

Once I had seen the building the project started with a quick sketch in order fpr the client to visualize what we intended to create. It's quick and rough but it as enough to convey my idea to the client.

The sculpt started as a silhouette of the bust. I fastened to to the background panel.

The shape of the head and shoulders was built up with sculpting epoxy and balled up tinfoil.

Once the basic shape was finished the detailed layer was added.

The hands and tools were the last pieces to be added.

Then we began with primer and base coats of paint.

Then it was time to design the shutters that would frame our figure. I would all be done in EnRoute of course. The shutters would be routed in two halves which would be glued together back to back. First up was the vectors.

A flat relief was the next step.

Then I imported a bitmap from the TEXTURE MAGIC collection. Its called sandblasted redwood.

I positioned the bitmap over the relief so the seam of the bitmap was over the joint between the two sections of the shutters.

I applied the bitmap to the relief at 0.2". This meant the black of the bitmap did nothing while the white areas were raised 0.2" the grays were raised something in between depending on their value.

The completed relief was then copied and flipped so it formed the back of the shutter. The file was routed from 30 lb Precision Board on the MultiCam.

The shutters were painted with FSC-88 WB primer and the base coated. 

Next we'll apply the glazes to finish the piece. It will look great hung in place on the little woodshop.