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, March 16, 2015

Robot router

Each time I watch our Multicam create a 3D file it is almost like it has a mind of its own. It is pure magic to see a block of Precision Board turn into something I previously imagined. This is what inspired the MultiCam Robot Router display piece.  The starting point was this sketch.

We first welded up a sturdy steel frame. The display piece has to travel thousands of miles, will be leaned on and touched by thousands of people. We first screwed 3/4" plywood to the frame and then a second show layer of half inch thick MDF. The top is 1" thick MDF. The metal frame was extended out of the side to hold up the gantry. It is almost as sturdy and heavy as a real MultiCam!

I built the piece as I do much of our work, measuring and designing by eye, as I go. I mocked it up as the pieces came off the router, sometimes going back to the drawing board to get it all right.

Once all the front pieces were on and I was happy I then cut the middle pieces to fit over the welded steel frame and then added the back pieces. I hid internal wiring and LED lights throughout to add some bling to the final piece.

With all of the routed pieces assembled it was time for some hand work, first using the die grinder to add character and some texture to the edges and faces. Screw holes were filled and the joining bits sculpted with Abracadabra sculpting epoxy. Lastly I added all of the rivets and external decorative wires.

We then painted a texture coat of Coastal Enterprises Primer to the entire piece before hand brushing on three coats of metallic silver and gray paint. Lastly the painting crew laid on a heavy coat of brown patina to add a little grime and age to this steam punk industrial piece. 

The real magic happened when I hooked up the transformer and wiring. The bright LED's glowed and brought the piece to life!

Building a trade show display is all about bringing attention to our customer's product service or business. Branding on the three pieces happens an amazing thirty-one times!