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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Last of the window bucks installed

Often many small routed pieces for a much larger assembly. Our house project is no exception... and will be in fact one of the largest routing projects we have done to date. While many decorative pieces are in design the window bucks were the first such pieces. Even these bucks were made up of many pieces. We used almost 80 sheets of plywood for these alone. Designing them in EnRoute was quick. And the MultiCam cut the pieces as fast as I could load and unload the machine.

Today was an exciting day as we 'flew' the pieces into place. My friend John Wishlow brought his crane to our project and lifted the heavy pieces into place. Two 13 foot windows, one on the front and one in the rear of the house were lifted and fit into place.

The house is quickly taking shape! Stay tuned for more...


Moose gets his skin

Today was the day to put a skin on the mighty  moose sign which we routed the a double sided sign for a while back. We mixed a special fiberglass reinforced concrete to trowel on about an inch thick. We then let it set up to a certain point.

Then we carved in the final form, the fur, eyes and other entails. Peter (above) works on sculpting the waffle cone while Brando carves in the moose's fur.

Here's the moose at quitting time, soon reedy for paint. Stay tuned...


Monday, May 28, 2012

Window bucks being installed

The hues is coming along nicely. The crew is busy stacking up LOGIX block. The window bucks we designed with EnRoute and cut to shape from plywood are now being set into place in the wall structure. They will stay in place after the walls are filled with concrete. The routed plywood inserts will be removed to make way for the windows when we are done. 

Tomorrow things should really start to come together! Stay tuned for more pics...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roofer's sign

The roof supplier for our nerd house has been in business for 75 years. They had a logo they loved and so I just had to interpret it to be a dimensional sign. but it would be fun abet very simple to create. The sign will be displayed at the front to our property along with many other suppliers and trades. This one is square rather than rectangular but it should work just fine. I kept it about the same square footage as the others for balance.

I first created a square vector with rounded corners and made this into a flat relief.

Since we are installing a rubber roof (actually made from recycled tires) that looks like real shake I decided to make it look like split woodgrain. I used the sandblasted woodgrain from my TEXTURE MAGIC collection.

The lettering and triangle were created as separate, simple flat reliefs.

These were nudged vertically into position in the front view, then merged highest with the woodgrain.

The last step was to modify the relief by adding the '75 years' slogan.

As quick as that the file was ready for tool pathing and then to be sent to the MultiCam. It would be routed from 30 lb Precision Board. I'll be putting it on the router tomorrow and then gluing it up ready for finishing. I'll be [posting pics as always of course. Stay tuned...


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Window bucks almost complete.

The last week has been a hectic one. The crew has been busy in the shop but most of my time has been spent on the new house project. There are so many decisions to be made at the start it seems. We are planning plenty of cool details that will be routed but those are a little ways off yet.

The window buck shapes we routed in the last weeks are now largely complete. These forms will be fitted into the ICF (insulated concrete forms) and keep the concrete where it belongs. The inside forms that we routed will pop out after the concrete is poured to make way for the windows. I'll post some pictures as the bucks are put into the walls in about a week or so.

I'll also be posting a lot more projects as I get back into things in the shop.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mighty moose sign assembly

The Mighty Moose Ice Cream sign needed to be assembled. The sign would be comprised of five layers. One layer of the sign would be cut around the steel framework. I clamped the second layer of the sign to the frame and marked out the area.

I used the layout on the back of the sign to create the small pieces I needed, cut from scraps of Precision Board high density urethane. 

Then the four layers of routed Precision Board were glued up around along with the small scraps I had cut to fit around the welded steel frame. Everything will be allowed to dry well before I use the die grinder to even things up and add the wood grain to the edges of the sign. Now we can weld up the framework for the ice-cream cone.

Stay tuned for more...


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Knock Knock.

A short while back we designed and cut the mock window shapes. Today we assembled the fist window buck thick combined four windows and one door into one large piece. We first welded up a heavy duty steel frame. We lined the steel with plywood and then fastened in the plywood window shapes. The plywood buck was built around this combined shape. This large buck will be placed in the wall. The ICF forma will be built around it. Once the concrete is poured the plywood window shapes will be removed, making room for the actual windows. The bucks will remain permanently fastened in the walls.

Soon I'll be designing and routing the trim and panels for the door and window trim. Stay tuned as more of this project comes together...

-grampa dan

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Horse head routed

Things were a little crazy in the shop while so much was going on but through it all the MultiCam was busy churning out creative work.

I sliced the horse's head in EnRoute, then tool patched it and sent it off to the MultiCam. It was routed in four layers of 1.5" 30 lb Precision Board.

The smaller bits and pieces were eliminated for I've found then easier to sculpt them in by hand later with sculpting epoxy, less work than trying to glue and carve them.

Here's the second layer laid on top of the first. Things lined up perfectly.

And here's the horse's head ready to glue up.

Tomorrow I'll route a base and then glue everything together. Stay tuned...


Monday, May 7, 2012

Mighty Moose sign

The Mighty Moose sign is to be a double sided sign. The owner asked that it be old weathered wood, which suits the theme perfectly. First up we created the lettering. I added an outline around the letters in EnRoute using the offset drawing tool.

I then drew a rough broken board using a bitmap of the driftwood from the TEXTURE MAGIC collection. I created a flat relief and then used the bitmap to add some woodgrain.

Then I selected the virtual sculpting tool. I would use it to carve into the ends of the wood background. to give the wood a lot more character,

I sized the lettering to fit on the background I sized the lettering for the l=panel and then created a duplicate of the background. I flipped it to create the back piece of the sign. I then duplicated the lettering and positioned it on the second copy.

The outline of the letters was created as flat reliefs. I positioned the reliefs vertically on relation to the woodgrain and then merged highest to the wood background.

The MIGHTY MOOSE letters was created using the bevel tool. The bevelled lettering was created with a 0.2" vertical base.

The letters of ice cream were created with a slight rounded top.

With that the files were ready for tool patching and routing.

Stay tuned as I route and glue them up on top of the moose.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Moose structure

The Mighty Moose Ice Cream sign is coming along nicely. Before I could determine the size of the routed portion of the sign I wanted to weld up the moose structure.

With the welding of the moose complete I could measure up the sign and been the design. I'll put that on the router and then weld up the ice cream cone with the cherry on top.

Stay tuned...


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More EnRoute 5 fun

I recently got a job where I had to do some things that previous versions of EnRoute couldn't handle. My client wanted a horse's head. I had downloaded an STL mesh file of a horse head some time ago and routed a sample. My client loved it but we needed it to top a post instead of being a wall mount.

I first imported the mesh file. Unselected it is black. When we select the mesh it turns green.

When we render the mesh file it turns red.

I created a zero height relief, selected both the relief and the mesh, then merged highest. The mesh could now be deleted.

Then I did a zero height slice to remove the background.

Then it was time to give the new distort tool a workout. I decided to do a little at a time rather than go for big moves and create too much distortion.

To distort I grabbed the nodes and pulled. I was careful not to distort through the face area of the horse head relief. As you pull the nodes the grid over the relief distort but what happens is not evident until I hit enter. I pulled and stretched in eight operations to achieve the effect I wanted.

By this point I was liking what I saw. I did one more round of distortion just to widen out the base of the neck.

I wanted to clip off the bottom of the irregular shape to make it flat. The was a simple operation. I created a zero height relief rectangle and then merged lowest.

To get rid of the flat part I used the slice tool once more. then I duplicated the horse's head and flipped the copy. By machining the two sides I will have two halves to glue together making a complete head.

As quick as that I had a usable horse's head that I am sure my client will love. The new distortion tool proves to be perfect for this task.