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, 1 September 2015

Cupcake anyone?

Each of these miniature stores had to have 1 oversize element! Oversize to the scale of the store that is!
The cinema was to have an oversized popcorn container, the bakery a cupcake, and the candystore a gumball machine. Non of this is an off the shelf purchase, with the exception of the popcorn container!
The Dollar Store can be a treasure trove of parts for this kind of thing! I did find some plastic ice cream bowls, and a kids ladybug lantern!
At first you may say "Whaaaaat?"
The lantern I hacked strictly for the globe around the LED light. This will become the glass for the gumball machine.
I measured up the globe, and drew the vector outline in Corel, then imported those vectors into Hexagon. Using the vectors, I massed up the base of the gumball machine, to the size I needed it.
The base was cut in 2 halves, out of HDU.
A few coats of primer to seal up the HDU, and this is pretty much ready for paint!
The cupcake was the next animal! I quickly drew up the cupcake top in Hexagon, working from the inside diameter of the small ice cream bowl. This was also cut from HDU, and painted with acrylics. The cherry stem was a section of coat hanger wire, drilled into the top, and bent slightly.
While this was all goin' down, Jody was working on the final set piece, which was a section of curved roadway, with "grass" on each side, and matching sidewalk pads. This the outdoor scene for the toys.
The grass berms were hot-wire cut foam, then sanded smoothly into an undulating surface, ready to be flocked for grass.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Cartoon Retail Shopping, in Miniature!!

I always say that I love miniatures! Cartoon-ish miniatures are even way more coolio!
During the Emily Trudeau sign build, we got in a tv commercial build, and paused work on the sign.
One fun job, right into another is OK by me!
This job was to create 4 small environments for a toy product.
These were a bakery interior, a candy store interior, a theatre, and an outdoor space!
As with most tv builds.............4 days.
As with all 2d stuff, I drew up all the pieces for each mini set in Corel, including the prints for the wall panels and flooring. The candy store was the first one to get drawn!
Everything for all 3 stores was cut from .060 and .125" sheet styrene. There was only 2 items that actually got 3d machined for this. The rest was all 2d, assembled into 3d shapes. We didn't 3d print anything either.
All of the counters, for the 3 stores were cut from 2" HDU. Super fast way to mass a curvy shapes!
Once the shapes were cut, I wrapped them all in .020 styrene, leaving them short at the bottom, to resemble some sort of toe kick that a real cabinet would have. Wrapping these in styrene gave me a super smooth surface for painting, with zero sanding, except for the corner joints! My kinda cabinet building!
Once the counters were all cut and assembled, I moved on to the cabinet type structures. Above is the ticket kiosk for the little movie theater.
The rest of the cabinets and shelving were quickly assembled from the parts off the Techno.
This is another one of those times that a little extra work in the computer, makes for a super fast assembly in the real world!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sometimes It can Be Sad When A Job Gets Finished!

The very last things to do on the sign was to drill the holes for the butterfly, and flowers. These will go on the sign just before it gets mounted on location. Due to the freshness of the paint from the night before, we decided NOT to wrap the sign for it's 2 hour trailer ride to Tweed. Even though it was riding in an open trailer, and it was raining, I really believed it would be safer without any wrap sticking to the 12 hour old paint.

The final pieces to our puzzle were the sign posts themselves. These were fabricated by our great friend Reg, at Brewster's Welding. He did such a fantastic job structurally welding the 4 polished stainless steel poles to their mounting plates. And as per the customer request, we had 2 cowboy boots, with hats, laser cut from .060 stainless steel sheet. Reg also welded these on for us!

The sign arrived without a single mark, although pretty wet from the rain! However, as some things go, there was a miscommunication with the base plates that had already been set in the ground, in 5 feet of sono tube and concrete!
But in the spirit of the entire Splash Pad build, EVERYONE lent a hand to solving the problem.

This included an amazing fellow by the name of Troy. Troy owns Dirty Crack Welding, and arrived at 7 pm from his other 2 jobs, and set to work immediately to rectify the issue. A true professional, dedicated to doing whatever it took!

The picture is proof of how many people worked tirelessly to make sure this sign got installed for the 11 am grand opening. By the time we left, it was past midnight, and I do believe a few stayed until 3am to take care of the rest of the things that needed wrapping up.


The grand opening was packed! Jody and I were amazed by the outpouring of support, from not only  the Town of Tweed, but the surrounding communities as well. A remarkable turnout to say the least!
The event started with heartfelt speeches from the family and friends of the Trudeau family, while the smells of french fries and hamburgers filled the air!

This was followed immediately by a ribbon cutting ceremony,

and a release of  butterflies...............

Which the entire splash pad is themed around!

Jody and I couldn't be happier with the outcome of the sign! I love the colors and all the elements involved. I wanted more than anything for the sign to look like it was pulled from a theme park, and delivered right here!

 We also have to thank Justin Monk, and Engine Communications, for reaching out to us to design and build this great piece!

Justin had contacted me awhile ago, and sent me a quick sketch of what he was thinking. After discussing various ideas, we both liked the fonts, so I ran with that! He sent me off the text vectors, and we set to work!

Justin and Engine Communications were great to work with, as they gave us complete control on designing something that would have a great wow factor. Answering as many questions as I could possibly ask! And being a quick phone call away!

This was a truly great build! I wish I could mention everyone we met and worked with, but I would be afraid to leave anyone out, so here's to all of you! We are so grateful to get to work with amazing people on every one of our builds.

Thanks Again,
Jamie and Jody