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, 23 August 2011

40 hours in a week!?!?!?

Says who?
The last week has been.........how do you say.............................very long. Yeah, that's it, very long.
We have been working on this trade show booth for Toronto's "Fan Expo" event. It's a multi-genre fan convention. Due to the time allotted, we subbed out the tension wall system to another company we do some work for now and then. That left us with a giant tower for the center of the booth and 8 gaming chair set-ups. The column has a total height of 20 feet and is oval in shape. 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep. This is a big column! We decided to build it in 5, four foot sections. Each of the 5 sections splits in half so we could ship them on a reasonable size skid. The finish of choice was matte white arborite. The ribs were drawn in Aspire, with our Techno cnc pushing very quickly through the 3/4" plywood
I split the ribs into 4 pcs per unit to get the best sheet yield. The holes were added to allow for retractable eye hooks. These hooks will pop up for us to be able to lift them on top of each other by the trussing system chain motors. Once un-hooked, they will drop into their holes to allow the stacking of the next section. We also put in alignment dowels to ease the pain of alignment. The sections were all framed in 3/4 ply and wrapped in Wiggle wood. These actually went together rather quickly. We left a 3/8" reveal around the bottom of each one to hide any slight seam mis-alignments. The bonus was that these are very light. Which is good as these will make for a very big tower!

 The other portion of the build was 8 double stacked octagon bases. These bases have a 37" octagon on the bottom, and then a smaller octagon stacked on top of it. These two pieces will have a race car seat mounted to the top from which a person will get to play "Call of Duty" on a new format 3D television. 

The chairs we ordered were one of those "looks good in the photo". When they arrived they were less than stellar. I spent about an hour cleaning the seems up. As these chairs were polyproplene, I was able to flame the cleaned up seems to blend them smoother. The other disappointment was the blow molded swirling of the plastic. They needed a new paint job, and fast! I headed out and picked up some "rubberized rocker guard" If you don't know what this is, it's basically a flexible rubber textured spray that they spray the rocker panels on cars with, to protect them from stone chips. After the texture was applied and dry, I clear coated them with a high flex, matte clear coat. We use Sherwin Williams 2 part automotive clear coats. These are HIGHLY durable, and apply easily. And despite what the label says about mixing, they are pretty tolerant of slight variations of hardener and reducers. And believe me, I have pushed the ratio to the max. Especially on a job where you are getting low at 3 am and don't have time to wait until the next day to get a little more!
The paint job looks a little stripy in the pictures, but as the clear flashes off and they start to dry mat, that will disappear. Applying the laminate to the other parts was pretty straight forward, I really like the LePages water based contact cement. I had reservations about using it when it first came on the market a while ago, but I love it now! Plus, it's handy stuff to have for various other projects that require weird ways of doing things. This job was full steam ahead right until the delivery. In fact, we were building the skids this morning in order to deliver them today to the convention center.

Today was a little interesting. In terms of delivery schedule, unloading at the show, etc. We delivered our portion, then had to head over to Boothworks to pick up the other portions. I hope I remember the installation instructions for the Octanorm panel supports. Good job they're on speed dial.
Due to various other 'technical difficulties' at the location(there is a HUGE amount of A/V components in this booth, and these present their own set of problems) we didn't get very much installing done. So we are back tomorrow, but I am confident that everything will run like a well oiled machine. And it better not be a well oiled 'Death Machine'!


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