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, September 25, 2017

Under Hill delight

As is most often the case we started off with a concept drawing. I brought this into EnRoute and traced over it to create the vectors needed to make the reliefs and for the plasma cut parts as well.

The lettering was curved to the shape of the scroll using the warp tool. The only thing not settled was the ornamentation on the scroll as the debate had not yet been decided.

I handed the vectors over to Peter at this stage. He created a second and ultimately a third version of the lock vectors and built the reliefs for two of these versions before they settled on the second one. The lock was built in three layers with structural steel through the middle. The loop of the lock was welded 2" pipe - very much overkill but in scale for this lock. The top layer of the lock was built as a flat relief and then modified using an oval. A custom bitmap was used to generate the inlay texture on the front of the lock.

The scroll centre was created as a flat relief and then modified using a large oval The top of it is cut off in this screen shot. In this screen shot the ovals used to modify the end poses of the scroll are shown.

The folded ends of the scroll were created in the same fashion, as flat reliefs which were then modified using an oval vector and the dome tool. One further thing Peter did was to create a pocket for the upper piece in each segment so they fit together.  He did this by creating a flat relief and then merging lowest with the piece that needed to be modified.

The pieces for together perfectly on the screen and also after they were routed from 30 lb Precision Board.

While the router was working Peter was busy with the plasma cutter making the pieces for the key.
 Once they were cut from 1/8" plate he shaped the leaf pieces by first running them through a roller and then pounding on them judiciously with a hammer. Once they were formed he welded them into place on the end of a pipe. Various other bits and a small steel ball completed this assembly.

The key was then welded to the top of a 5/8" rod and this was inserted through the layers of the routed piece of Precision Board which was laminated around it. The scrollwork was then inserted into the slots cut into the sides of the banner and welded into place.

We used a little Abracadabra Sculpting Epoxy to form some details on the key and to also gill any holes or gaps we created while we were working on the metalwork. The lock was welded to the bottom and everything was checked over and final grinding was done. Two 5/8" steel rods were welded to the back side for mounting and these were temporarily welded to a stand. We were then ready for the painting to begin.

First off we applied a primer to the metal. Then we used Coastal Enterprises FSC-88 primer to add a little more texture to the sign. This makes glazing much easier later.

As always we applied a minimum of three base coats of paint before going on to our blends and glazing. The result was a very nice little sign for the centre inn.