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.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Oh bouy, it floats

 Thursday saw the completion of the buoy. When I came into the shop, all the red base coat had dried nicely and it was time for the magic. We applied the many layers of different rust colours to the base and tower. We used latex paint for this step, ragging and sponging it around until we were happy. The sign panel, which we had made from .080" styrene plastic, got sanded to remove a lot of the paint from the text. This made it look like the text had started to fade and wear down. Then it too got a watery weathered grey/brown applied to it, letting the colour run down the face, adding years of atmospheric grime in about 5 minutes. When the panel dried, we flipped it over, sprayed the back with dark grey and speckled it with a textured black, making it look like very old galvanized metal. Then with a heat gun, we added the dings and bent edges. The final steps were to spray foam a few styrofoam chunks for flotation, mount a drop hook for adding weights to, and dill a vent hole, allowing any trapped air to escape once it took up residence on the lake during the shoot.

Once the spray foam had hardened up a bit, we added a few splats of seagull droppings, mixing brown into the off white, to add some realism to the poop.

Seagulls? Didn't I make one of those from Finding Nemo? How could I let this opportunity go without some fun. Plus, the poor seagull needs to get out of the shop every once in a while.
We let the buoy set of overnight, and bolted the tower to the base Friday morning. On our way to deliver it Friday in the AM, I stopped by my in-laws who have a pool. Now my in-laws are pretty understanding. This definitely isn't the first time they've looked out the window and seen something strange in their pool. I seem to remember a pirate ship, alligator and a small submarine. The buoy floated exactly as planned, and it was one last exciting photo op for our seagull.

I think I will ask for this buoy back if production doesn't want it after. I have a great idea to tie it to my dock and make a couple more seagulls. That should look pretty sweet to the confused boaters this summer.


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