Kicking off the New Year!

Some folks like to jump into icy cold water to celebrate New Years. That's OK if you like that kind of stuff but I like to stay where it is nice and warm. New Years for me is a time to learn new stuff, to stretch my brain a little.

Over the holidays I've been researching and trying various 3D programs. I want to learn to generate the digital files and then route them on our four axis MultiCam CNC router. I've been routing for more than six years but it is time to take things up a notch. The goal is not to take away all hand work but rather to use the computerized machine to take the grunt work out of the process. Detailing and the final finishes will always be done by hand in our shop - at least well into the forseeable future. I look at my CNC router as a highly trained assistant that will do exactly what I ask. The tough part is to learn the foreign and very difficult  language it speaks.

Today I put the first 3D file I had generated onto the router. It was fairly rough, but because I will be adding detail by hand later it didn't concern me. The machine made quick work of the file, far faster than I would have been able to do it by hand. Here's a quick video of the router in action...

While the machine worked on the face I created the rest of the files for the sign. This was familiar territory and only took a short while. Then I glued everything up and set it aside. Tomorrow I'll begin the handwork to add the details.

It was a good way to start the New Year. I may just get the hang it it all by 2013. We'll have to wait and see.

I also played a bunch with Phoebe and ate the last of the shortbread cookies to round out my day.

Happy New Year all!

-grampa dan