I have owned CNC routers for over 15 years and I never get bored of watching them work. There is a very powerful vacuum that hold the material down onto the table, another powerful vacuum that sucks up the dust but the main attraction is the two ton welded steel 3 axis router that can carve foam like this between 200-400in/min. We start with a 3/8” bit roughing pass the hogs out the majority of the material, clearing the way for the delicate 1/8” bit that carves in all the fine details. Its an amazing thing to witness if you ever get the chance.
After deciding upon a size and location for the carved Blue Ribbon school sign we set about designing the sign in 3d to the school’s specifications using software by Vectric. Each letter number and shape is first created as a vector or line drawing. Those simple shapes are then assigned complex 3d shapes and then assigned a distance away from the back of the drawing. Shapes can further be edited with 3d drawing tools and textures can be added, like the subtle leathery texture we added behind the lettering. The school’s superintendent approved the drawing but asked us to remove the s from the end of schools. With that, we needed to assign assign toolpaths to the drawing which instruct our CNC router which is basically a carving robot how to cut away the material to create our sign. For this sign we chose to carve the image out of High Density Urethane foam or HDU. This material allows us to carve in very high detail and will never split, warp, crack or rot like wood. To achieve this high level of detail, we will be carving this with an 1/8” ball nosed router bit which is almost like carving something with a needle. According to my computer it will take upwards of 20hrs for my machine to complete
This week we begin work on a machine and hand carved sign to honor a high school in Swampscott MA that earlier this year was added to the list of Blue Ribbon schools. The Blue Ribbon School program was created by the U.S. Dept. of Education to honor schools that have achieved high levels of student achievement. It is a designation earned by only .2 percent of schools nationwide. This award is a result of hard work on behalf of the faculty and staff and an achievment for the entire community. We were chosen to undertake this carving because the school had noticed similar plaques that we had carved for the Liberty Corner School and the Mt. Prospect Schools, both in New Jersey. This carved sign will be double the size of those we have previously made and be featured prominantly at the entrance to this amazing modern high school that was completed in 2007. Designed by the Architectural firm of Symmes, Maini & Mackee Associate in Cambridge, MA this 10 acre campus hosts 850 students grade 9-12 with an average 12-1 student to teacher ratio. This has been a big year for the school that also scored a silver award from the prestigious US News and World Report ranking of Best High Schools. We look forward to see our work prominently displayed on this modern landmark building.
Rev. Dr. Johann J. Bosman asked us to create a sign system that would be durable, light weight and removeable as they had problems with their signs being damaged and destroyed by snowplowes. What we created was a carved sign created entirely of PVC plastic that slides into two pressure treated wood posts cemented into the ground.