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, 20 September 2011

More Louie

Sunday saw the final machining of all the HDU on Louie and his plane. This whole model was split in Aspire and cut from 2" material. The hands I modeled at 2" as well, knowing about the material thickness I was ordering. I decided that I didn't want to slice the hands for undercuts, but machine them as 1 piece each. This was a job for Cut 3D. If you aren't familiar with this software, it is made by Vectric, the same company that developed our Aspire software. Cut 3d is an extremely fast toolpathing software that allows up to 4 sides of a model to be machined. Aspire will certainly do this, but I find that Cut 3d makes the process so quick, and I can preview all machined sides in one model.
It also allows for quick setup of the tabs. You can see the four tabs that I added to the part, as well as the material block, in the picture. Tabs are used to hold the model to the block so it doesn't move or fall out when the cutter is making the part. I bought this software last year when we were making a bunch of chair molds for Disney Cruise Lines. It's very affordable software, so the job payed for the software after the first chair. Monday I got all the parts primed and the plane parts painted red. One of the other things I decided to do was draw and print the eyes. Because I wanted his goggles to have clear acrylic lenses, it just made sense to print the eyes. I will apply these graphics behind the lenses. In order to get the cut vectors for the lenses, I took the face model in Aspire and traced the bitmap from the 2d viewport. If you move the slider under the threshold setting, it basically moves the "cut plane" from the top of the model to the bottom in small layers. Once the threshold was around where the lenses would be on the model, I selected the 'fit vectors to bitmap' and this gave me the vectors for the inside opening of the goggle eye holes.
I exported the vectors for the lenses into our drawing software, as well as the packaging box artwork, and a pic of the actual toy. I used the vectors as guidelines for drawing the new eyes that I will print.
The eyes are very in-keeping with the box art. And as I drew it with using the vectors as a guideline, when I print them out, they will be at the exact size. I was also able to get a whole pile of painting done today, but left my camera at the shop, so no updated pictures today. There will be a whole pile of catch-up pictures tomorrow however, so tomorrow might be more of a visual blog than text!

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