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.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I now know why we call it Labour Day weekend

I got to work fairly early on Saturday, finishing up the 3D modelling for Louie's plane. I decided that I hated Louie's hands on the CAD model. You can see the difference in the below image. The original model is on the right.
 They are totally fine for a 2" toy, but we are going to be making this thing with a 36" wingspan, and the original hands just wouldn't cut it. It didn't take me very long to whip up a hand and a sleeve cuff. I knew that I would be making the bulk of this job from 2" HDU, and the hand ended up being 2.180" at the widest part, so I squished it a little so it would fit in the material block. I really don't think anyone will even notice. I will be double-sided machining this part to keep it all one piece.

I then Booleaned the plane fuselage and the hand. This just means that I removed the geometry from the hands with the shape of the plane fuselage. As our Hexagon software doesn't have collision detection, one model can pass right through another model. When the part is finally machined, the hand will sit perfectly on the fuselage curve.

I was also able to get the head sectioned apart for machining.  I will section the face into layers in Aspire, as opposed to doing it in Hexagon. Moving between different software allows me to utilize the most powerful features of each one, significantly speeding up my workflow.

Sunday I had to drop Louie and move onto the Bakugan display table. I had finished the last of the vector work on Saturday, so I spent about 20 min in the morning nesting and toolpathing all the parts in Aspire.

Our Techno cnc flew through the pocketing and profiling of all the parts. It took on average 5min for each 4X8 sheet. Pretty quick I think. It actually takes longer to clear all the parts off the table and load another sheet than to actually cut.

In about 25 min. I had all the parts that the router was cutting ready to assemble.

This is where I ended on Sunday night. It's starting to look pretty cool now. All of the curved sheets are 3/8" wiggle wood. I just need to cut the 4" strips that will make up the table top thickness and add them to the slabs that the Techno cnc cut, as well as the slab base plate. This display table will get a heavy texture that we will do on Monday. I have a meeting on Tuesday in the morning, then I can get the silver base coat on this piece. We are going to use an enamel silver for durability so the dry time is a little painfull. I was hoping to have the texture done today, but I had to do a few drawings for the Fiberglass shop we work with regarding an old project, so that kind of set me back a bit today.


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