When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Building a rifle!

Our work has all been computer files lately, so that means the cnc's aren't cutting any work files.
That also means I get to run MY files all day, Muu Haa-haa!
It's nice to cut my own crap, without having to "squeeze" it in around other router work!

So I have put them to use cutting stuff I need for filming my short film this weekend. This weekend will be just the intro to the film, the rest will be shot over the whole of next summer.

I decided I wanted our cowboy hitman to have a rifle on his back. He won't actually use it, it's just for show. My awesome wardrobe friends, Denise and Joe, will be building the rifle belt, and holster for it.
First up, I scoured the internet for a cool rifle, and settled on this one. Plus, our local gun store had a  remake of this one, so I was able to measure it up quickly!
The nice thing about this image, is I can follow the light reflection to find the center bulge point all the way down the rifle side.
Then I brought the image, scaled to size, into my 3d modeller, and built the rough form. The flat area around the chamber, I'll deal with in Aspire, as well as a few other things that are easier to do in that software.
With the small tweaks made, and the vectors all created, I mirrored the other side for machining.
I decided to double-side machine this from cedar. Not a traditional gun making material, but a VERY lightweight alternative. I don't want to weigh our cowboy down with a heavy one. That's the sole reason I'm actually making this gun, for weight reasons. The reason for double side machining both halves is  so I could have the cnc hog out all the openings for the trigger, hammer, etc.

I also had our small Techno cut all the little bits and pieces for the rest of the gun. These were a combination of PVC and styrene.
For the center section, instead of doing it from a separate piece, I just masked it off, and brushed on several coats of the high build primer, and I'll sand it in the morning.

Monday, 9 November 2015

A new film!

As this blog is kinda my place to post the work stuff we do, I am going to document my next film project here as well. In hopes that you all might find it interesting as well! A departure from just the fabrication posts, but I know some of you are interested in everything that we get up to.

So this will be the first post in my newest film production!
I can't tell the whole script, for obvious reasons, but I will share whats pertinent as we go along.
One of my main characters in the film will span 2 time periods. The first time period is back in the 1870's -ish. He's basically a cowboy, with a twist.
This means a few things for me, one is getting a horse, which I'm pretty sure we have nailed down, and the other is wardrobe for our character. I have tasked a large portion of the wardrobe to my very good friends, Joe Christoff, who was involved in our last project, and Denise Robertson, who is a wiz at sewng the crazy stuff I come up with. She did all the wardrobe for my Endlewood project. That's on Youtube if you haven't watched it yet!

I will be doing bits and pieces of the wardrobe as well.
First things first, a cowboy needs a gun! This is a very good Denix replica I got online. It weighs a ton! I assume it's weight is pretty close to the real one! This one is going to be ported to blow compressed air and powder, to simulate a gunshot. I could certainly add smoke in post-production, but I would WAY rather get it in camera while we're filming.
Now a gun needs bullets as well! To avoid all kinds of grief, everything will be VERY fake indeed!
We need about 50 rounds for what we're doing. I decided to lathe all the bullets from acrylic rod. I stuck a radius cutter in the lathe, and spun the tips that way. It only took about 35 minutes to lathe all 50 pieces.
For the rim of the bullets, I laser engraved, then cut them all from .060 acrylic.
Then I just visually aligned the rims to the casing, and glued them up!
With a quick coat of brass paint, and the tips dipped in Rustoleum's Metallic Accent pewter color, they're lookin sweet!................49 more to go!
The other wardrobe pieces on the workbench were the spurs for our cowboy!
Using the boots as a measurement, I drew them up in corel, and sent them to Joe. He has access to a plasma cutter, and I want these to be durable. So he cut them from steel.
We welded them up, and added 2) 1/4-20 stove bolts for the studs. They got bent to the correct shape, then I treated them with the rust solution, to give them a patina. The far spur has the treatment, and the close one hasn't been done yet!

The next big task for filming is the period room the cowboy goes into.
I totally lucked out, and our friends who let us use their farm for Endlewood, have agreed to let us set up shop in a corner of their barn!

This does mean that we have to build some set walls. We'll be using the door, and the 2 real walls. I'll build two fake walls to make it a room. The nice thing about this, is that the walls can move in and out as we need them to. This will allow us to get the camera gear anywhere we need, without to much restriction in the space!
Stay tuned...................this is gonna be fun!


Monday, 2 November 2015

Picking back up!

I'm gonna try and pick this up from where I last left off on the miniatures build!
I have found over the years, that printing as much as we can, versus painting and masking, can shave measurable amounts of time off of a short deadline! These miniature sets are a prime example! The walls and floors are all printed vinyl. I can spend the time in the evenings drawing up the files, instead of wasting valuable build time at the shop. We did edge-paint all the MDF floor slabs though.
You can see by the X-acto knife the overall size of the room. The gumball machine was finished, and filled with plastic "gumball" beads. I made the turn dial from PVC and styrene plastic, with a silver lacquer paint finish.

And in the background, the multi-candy dispenser was finished, and filled with actual dessert sprinkles! Although the store looks REALLY bare, once they jam it full of the little toys for the commercial, it'll be busting with excitement!
The movie theater lobby set was the biggest of them all. Again the floor and walls were graphic prints I drew up. The exception was the red carpet. I cut a .060" styrene template on our Techno, then once the fit was established, I used it as a knife guide, and cut the carpet from red craft foam. I wanted a thickness to it, and the ultra-matt finish contrasted nicely against the satin finish print of the rest of the flooring.
We also made a scale popcorn-dispenser for the back wall. Miniature popcorn had me scratching my head a bit! In the end, I bought a yellow kitchen sponge, and picked it apart, to make the top all rough, and I think it worked awesome for a background element. Then we matched the counter-top color to the popcorn color, so it would be a smooth flow along the back wall.
The final touches were adding the real popcorn to the "oversized" element popcorn box, and the brass poles with red rope. The red rope we used was a piece of red pipe cleaner. It held it's shape great, and didn't place any tipping stress on the poles. The poles all had to be wild, so they could place them where ever they may need!