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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Making the replacement

When I went back to measure up the signs I also had to figure out how I built them. After seven years my memories of the project had gotten very fuzzy. The photos I had of the signs in the trailer provided some information but the colours were redder than I remembered. 

Once I got onsite I recalled things much more clearly. I had cut the signs from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board. We had also applied a primer and three coats of paint plus the glazes. The gold leaf on the letters and symbols was in perfect shape. They had held up extremely well to years of construction, snow removal and the cutting of the grass by weedwackers, sun, rain, snow, and other abuse. 

One particular detail I had forgotten was that I had bevelled the edges of the signs.

Although I no longer had the routing files I did have the vectors for the Japanese symbols. The lettering was an easy match.

Using the measurements I had gathered onsite I quickly created the vectors. The outside border would be smooth for routing. I'd add the texture later with the hand held die grinder, as I had done on the original signs.

I started by selecting out outside vector of the sign. I used the bevel tool to create the edge but also used the limit to height. This provided the beveled edge I was looking for.

Next I dropped the centre of the sign by modifying the original relief using the subtract tool.

I then applied a bitmap texture called splotches to the centre area.

Next up I created a separate flat relief of the lettering outline. 

I then went to the front view to check the height of this new relief in relation to the inside area it would be placed. It seemed a little high to me so I nudged it down a little, until I was happy.

I then merged highest with the base layer of the sign.

I then modified this relief by adding the bevelled lettering and symbol.

The translation (PEACEFUL) was done next as a using the flat tool.

The sign was then ready to tool path and send to the MultiCam.
Once again I routed the sign from 1.5" thick 30 lb Precision Board.