The Amazing World of CNC Routing

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CNC routing is a construction process used for many set, stage, and event designs, and for good reason.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC)) technology means we’re able to cut, carve, and engrave practically any material into shape with extreme accuracy. The marriage of traditional 2-D routing & advanced software allows us to create highly accurate designs by programming movement through the materials.

CNC technology is sophisticated and versatile, and can be used to create high-impact, stunning scenery, with amazing speed and accuracy. Here are some ideas for how to use CNC technology to create stunning event scenery and staging for your next event.

 

DECORATIVE PANELS & SCREENS

The most common application of CNC routing in event and set design is in flat panels. Panels are often modular pieces which are assembled to create a backdrop, faux wall panels, partitions, or visual dividers. Sculpted or painted textures can create the effect of stone, brick walls, or almost any other hard surface.


Corporate Office Interior Design for WeWork in NYC (Before & After)

Corporate Office Interior Design for WeWork in NYC (Before & After)

Image: WeWork interior panels by Scenicorp

Above: The intricate cut-out pattern in these room dividers turns a WeWork co-working space into a work of art.

CNC technology allows us to create cut-out latticework effects like the one above. Panels can be made to look like brick, stone, wood planks – any kind of surface you can imagine. The set of VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown (below) used both brick panels and latticework wall detail, all created with our large format CNC machine .

VH1 Top 20 TV Set Design using CNC routing to create panels and brick effect

Image: VH1 tv set brick & latticework panels by Scenicorp

SCULPTURAL FORMS

But CNC is not just limited to flat, 2-dimensional designs. The same technology can be used to accurately carve dips and curves in material, to create more flowing and organic shapes.

We used the CNC machine to create the highly sculptured effect of Kanye West’s album cover for his performance on BET’s 106th & Park television show. CNC routing created the basic shape, which was then sanded and painted by scenic artists to create a faux marble effect.

Click through for image slideshow below:

Images: (1) Kanye West album artwork , (2) 3D rendering of the album artwork, (3) finished piece using CNC routing & scenic painting.


Below, this highly sculptural dimensional wall has an undulating, wave effect created by spacing dozens of individually routed panels. CNC routing makes this type of build possible because of the high degree of accuracy in the cuts.

Undulating Sculptural trade show wall created with CNC technology

Image from event designers Barrios Escudero

CUSTOM SCENIC ELEMENTS

Large scale elements can be engineered with CNC technology. One benefit of CNC is the capacity to design and build individual components which form the building blocks of the structure. This can dramatically streamline and expedite the entire construction process.

Luke Byran’s performance at the CMA Awards in 2014 showcased a life-sized rollercoaster, which was built with CNC technology.

Luke Byran Rollercoaster set scenery design made with CNC routing technology

Luke Byran Rollercoaster set scenery design made with CNC routing technology

Image: rollercoaster staging element built by Scenicorp

STRUCTURAL SUPPORT

Some of the most effective CNC applications actually stay behind the scenes.

The dome and arches in this set for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” were constructed from a CNC-built framework.  We were able to create a full sized computer model of the designer’s vision. From there we created a plywood grid to frame out the arches and domes.

Sorcerer's Preliminary Drawings

Sorcerer's Apprentice Set Dome Design Constructed with CNC routed components

Image: set construction for the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Scenicorp.

The brickwork effect was also created using CNC routing in the shop.

HOW WE DO CNC AT SCENICORP

Scenicorp has state of the art 5’ x 12’ sheet capacity CNC routers with auto-loading material handling. This means our CNC machines can run around the clock and we can turn around any sized project quickly.

Jesse Green, a 12 year event industry veteran at Scenicorp, heads up the experienced team of engineers and operators to produce almost any design you can imagine!

Jesse Green, a 14 year event industry veteran at Scenicorp, heads up the experienced team of engineers and operators to produce almost any design you can imagine!

CNC router, 5' x 12' material auto-feed

One of our large-format CNC machines at the Scenicorp facility.

Contact us about using CNC technology to create high-impact scenery for your next event.

 


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