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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lucky horse shoe sign

The latest project is a fun one. Once again it will involve a number of disciplines and materials. The post is to be made of structural steel surrounded by hand sculpted Fibreglass Reinforced Concrete. The horseshoe and sign board will be routed from 30 lb Precision board (with a welded steel core) and the horse will be hand done using sculpting epoxy. 

I used the hand drawing as a template to create the vectors I needed to create the routing files. This project is fairly simple. I then duplicated and combined the vectors to create the middle section of the sign. A square tubing frame will be fit and welded up into the center to add some structural strength.

I started with the sign board. A simple flat relief was created as a first step. I made it 1.2" tall.

I then used a modifier file (from the new Woodgrain Texture Collection) Keeping in mind that black does nothing, white will raise the relief by the amount entered and greys do something in-between depending on their value we know that this bitmap file will effectively twist or warp the relief by 0.4" over it's length and width.

Next up was the woodgrain. Before this step I created a copy of the vectors and flipped them for the back side of the sign.  I removed the lettering from this sign. Once more I was using a bitmap file from the new woodgrain collection. For the front side I drew a rectangle around the board for the purpose of modifying the relief. I did not want the woodgrain to go through the lettering and by selecting the relief, the lettering border and the rectangle the texture is applied to the board but not the lettering.

On the reverse side there was no lettering and so the woodgrain bitmap texture was applied to the entire board.

I then selected the relief and that same lettering border and modified the relief by raising the lettering border. It followed the warp of the board.

I then selected the lettering and the base relief (the board) and added the lettering using the dome tool.

The horse shoe was created in a number of steps.  I first created a flat relief using the horse shoe shape. Then the toe piece and heel nubs were created and taller reliefs. These were then combined with the base relief. The long holes which hide the heads of the nails were subtracted from the horseshoe relief on the front side of the sign only.

I then used the subtract from command to cut the nail holes into the shoe by 0.2" This was done on both sides of the sign.

I then combined the reliefs to finish the files. They were then ready for tool pathing and sending off to the MultiCam.