Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicago Router Works

Chicago Router Works started in 2001 when I bought a custom made CNC router from a small American company called ShopBot. The machine was one of the biggest they had ever made at twenty feet long and nearly six feet wide, with a cutting depth of twelve inches. CNC routers have been around for decades, but the rapid advance of their design programs means using their full potential quickly gets easier every day.

The first home for my new router was the scene shop at Lookingglass Theatre were I was Technical Director for three years. Here I was able to combine my knowlage of set construction and computer aided drafting to learn not only the basics, but also do a number of more complex jobs. These jobs included making 3D terrain models for an architectural model company, cutting hundreds of pieces for a curved seating system at NBC towers and making a giant forced perspective floor for the Lyric Opera.

After Lookingglass my router and I were hired by a large theatrical scene shop called Hawkeye Scenic. Here the router received its first major upgrade, a heavy duty steel table. At Hawkeye I ran the router day and night for three years. During this time, with the help of the wonderfully creative and talented people who worked for and with Hawkeye, I continued to hone and refine my skills.

A few years later Hawkeye closed. The router and I went back to the property where the Lookingglass shop had been. My stay at this location was to be short lived, as less than a year later the entire property was leveled to make way for a parking lot. Again I moved my operation , this time to the current home of Chicago Router Works.

Well, that's the story of me and my router, but the stories I'm really interested in are the stories of the things we have made together. That story is the one this blog is really meant to tell, so stay tuned...

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