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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Some projects take a while

A like more than three and a half years ago I designed the primary sign for Skallywag Bay adventure Park. I designed he routing files a short time later but it would be another year before we started to build two copies of the sign. That process was chronicled here.

We routed he hulls of the ships from multiple layers of 2" thick 30 lb Precision Board.

These were glued together and hen we sculpted the details onto the two copies of the ship.

Two and a half years ago the two signs, along with hundreds of other features were carefully packed into eighteen shipping containers and then shipped through the Panama Canal to Trinidad.

Yesterday, one of these signs  was the last piece to be carefully lifted into it's final home.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

More signs at Skallywag Bay

There were a whole lot of signs which we did for Skallywag Bay in Trinidad and I'e been itching to get them installed for quite some time. During my last visit to the site we got almost all of the larger pieces placed around the site. We did it using a 60' zoom boom which is a very handy machine. I have my forklift licence for our little machine at the shop but the larger machine was a whole new experience! The key is to go slow and easy. Every move is amplified when the boom is fully extended and to reach these pieces we did just that most of the time.

The sign posts will have heavy rope work installed at a later point by someone who knows how to braid the rope and tie the proper knots.

The soil will be put into the planters around the base of the signs and the greenery will soften the look and make the signs blend better into the picture.

One Track Mine Co. - Part two

I routed three copies of the little One Track Mining Co. vehicle chassis. I'll make three different models as per the original sketches. The pieces were routed from some scraps of 1.5" 30 lb Precision Board. Since I uses a tapered 1/8" bit the track shoes routed just as I imagined, slightly thinner at the edges. I had routed the pieces with a 80% overlap which provided a smooth surface. I left a thin onion skin layer against the spoil board so the small pieces stayed put on the vacuum spoil board on the router.

Here's the same there pieces pulled apart. I simply blew the dust off the pieces with an air hose before I glued them up using a five minute epoxy and five clamps.

Once the epoxy set up I used the air powered die grinder to even out the edges. The corners and back of the hood were rounded to match the radiator cover. I'll cut and glue a little more material to the base to widen it before I start the sculpture process. 

Before I started the sculpt I did up a new rendering of the wheelbarrow vehicle based on the little scale model as the engine housing/hood wasn't in my first renders. I'll do my sculpt with this new drawing as a reference. The hardest part of this build is that it will have to wait two weeks before I do it as I head out of town bright and early tomorrow morning. :) Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

One Track Mine Co - part one

The three little One Track Mine Co. machines are so much fun I decided to build them first as some sample models. As I designed the routing reliefs I made some modifications to make them better. I'm sure more modifications will follow as we build the pieces full size as well.

I built the vector files completely in EnRoute. The track files are a lot like the tank files we built a little while ago but these sport a little more detail. The biggest change from the concept sketch was the addition of a motor hood. I built it in three sections (two sides and a front)

I started with the track backing plate. This was created as a relief 0.2" thick. The center was then dropped by half that to effectively create the chain links between the treads.

The cleat sprockets were next and were created as separate reliefs 0.3" tall.  I then selected the track pieces and combined them with the track shape. I could do this because they protruded outside of the track shape. The sprocket pieces were MERGED HIGHEST with the track back.

The center springs were created by modifying the track background relief.

The wheels were next and were created as separate reliefs. These were then MERGED HIGHEST with the track back.

Next the wheels were dished down by modifying the base relief using the subtract and dome tool.

And the wheel lugs were then added by modifying the base relief and using the ADD TO and dome tool.

The top portion of the track support was created as a separate relief and then merged highest with the track relief.

Last up for the track reliefs were the cleats. These were created as separate reliefs that were one inch tall. Since they were outside but overlapped the base relief I selected the cleats and the base relief and then used the combine tool to make them one relief.
The floor and hood of the little tractor was created as a separate flat relief. that was 1.2" tall. The hood vent slots were then dropped into this relief using the subtract tool. This new piece and the track relief were then selected and combined into one relief.

The grill of the tractor was next. I first created a zero height relief.

I then used the chamfer tool to round off the front edges uniformly all the way around.

The grill and started holes were then created using the subtract tool.

I then created a zero height relief and used the merged highest command to effectively clip the bottom off the grill. I then used the slice tool to take off the zero height portion of the relief.

I then modified the track relief by adding the little circle to the base bracket. This will be used to mount all of the accessories to the tractor.

The last step was to create a dirt base for the tractor This was done as a simple flat relief which was 1.5" tall. This new separate relief and the tractor relief were selected and combined to form one relief.

The track relief was duplicated and flipped so I could glue it to the back of the original to create the tractor. The grill will be glued to the end of the motor housing.  The piece was now ready to be tool pathed and sent off tp the MultiCam. It will be routed from a piece of 1.5: 30 lb Precision Board. Stay tuned for the next steps...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Piece by piece!

It is pure magic as we install the scores of features at Skallywag Bay in Trinidad. It's been four years since we started building the fourteen shipping containers full of features. We packed the last of them into the containers more than two years ago. Now at last it is time to install everything. Today was the day to assemble two of the attraction signs. Being too tall to fit out of the shop door we built and shipped them in sections. Today was the first time we've seen them put together. They are every bit as we imagined they would be and will look even better when he gardens are planted!

Every piece lifted beautifully which was amazing as we could only estimate where the lift points needed to be as we fabricated the pieces. Everything fit together perfectly as well... a testament to our team's engineering and fabrication skills.

Some of the pieces we fabricated were shipped as parts for final assemblies. These logo skull brackets were plasma cut from 1/2" thick steel plate for each side of the posts in the train station and entrance building.They looked great welded into place!

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow!