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.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

wrapping up the texture

I got to the shop at 7 am this morning ready to start the texturing of the sculpture! I tend to get excited about most of the jobs that come through our shop, and if I didn't need sleep, I would just work all the time. I know that if I won the lottery, I would still make all the stuff we do! Anyways, I was able to parge all the moldings with Durabond and add a sand coat to the rough stone base. This actually takes quite a bit longer than one would think. As I was waiting for the Durabond to stiffen up, I worked on the 2 heads at the top of the sculpture. I was able to find a 3d scan of a stone cherub head online. The nice thing about this 3d model is that it has "baby proportions" You know, that chubby face. This works great with our sculpture, as all the figures that were carved in that time were all kind of chubby. I brought the scanned model into our 3d modeller "Hexagon" and added that weird smurf hat that Mithras seemed to wear.

 After the modelling was done, I brought the model into Aspire and split it right down the middle and toolpathed both sides. The machining was a lot quicker than I thought it was going to be......40 minutes to rough and finish machine both sides of BOTH heads with a 1/4" ballnose cutter with a 6% stepover. A pretty small stepover for what this is, but it means no sanding! Being that we cut these out of HDU foam, I wouldn't really need a roughing pass, as the material cuts like butter. However, the flute length on the cutter(the spiral part of the cutter that removes the material) was only 1"  and our foam was 2"  I quickly glued the halves together and texture coated them with what was left from doing the main sculpture.

After that, I moved on to drawing up the simple bases that the heads sit on. As I was machining these parts, The storm we were having knocked out the power, leaving our Techno cnc very, very quite and alone in the dark. This really stinks because I wanted to leave the whole thing done, to dry overnight. Oh well, I will just finish up in the morning. This however sets the painting back a bit, but it'll get done.


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