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, 11 October 2011

Finishing the post

After a small Thanksgiving break, and by break I mean pulling the boat out of the lake, getting the dock out, cutting the gardens down, winterizing the seadoo, and prepping the house for the new windows.....Phew!  I am ready to finish the post tutorial I started. This will cover the cap portion. Again, we are moving to Photoshop to generate the toon texture. This is done with the same techniques as the long woodgrain we started with. Even if you haven't taken the plunge and purchased Aspire, all of these tutorials can be created in the free trial version, downloadable from the Aspire link at the side of this blog. The only thing you can't do is save the G-code for your machine. That will require the licensed version. But you can simulate the machining in Aspire and see what it would look like.

I started with a blank page of 6"X6" and with the elipse tool I constrained a circle of the same size. Again, use the air brush tool to paint right down the center of the dotted mask line. Your hand shake with the mouse will be enough to random it a bit.
Next is to use the lasso tool to free hand a new paint mask inside of the painted line we just drew. paint down the center of the dotted line again, just like before. The reason for painting right down the center, or as close as you can, is that the dotted mask will cut the paint brush off abruptly, when this is converted to a dimensional component in Aspire, it will give us a woodlike saw tooth profile. If we just drew circles without the mask, we would get rounded ring cross sections, which kinda look poopy.

Now we keep repeating these steps until we "can't go any further captain"
Now for some splitting in the end grain. Take the lasso tool and draw a random looking split in the end grain. Switch over to a white color and paint in the mask. Add as many or as little as you like.
Select IMAGE-ADJUSTMENTS-CURVES, and reverse the graph by grabbing the points at each end of the 45 degree line and dragging them straight up and straight down.


 Save the file out and open ASPIRE. After importing this image into Aspire and centering it in the workspace, turn it into a component. We drew our outermost ring in photoshop at 6" around, so we need to draw a circle in Aspire at the same size and center it as well. Now select our vector circle and our new component and "clear component OUTSIDE'. This deletes everything outside the circular woodgrain.
Now we just need to squish and squash it, and rotate it until it fits the cap shape we drew in the last tutorial. If you set the woodgrain cap to 'add' when we were creating it as a component, it will sit on top of the cap base component, giving it the required angle.

As you'll notice in the picture, the 2 grains don't line up all that great. This is fixed quite simply by using the sculpting tools to slowly remove the high points of the log side grain.
Here's the result of some careful sculpting. Lookin' good I think. Now lets bake this baby into a single component. This will stop some extremely unpredictable results when we start making copies and laying them out.

Now we just copy and manipulate each one, and place it where we want. These started as piers, but could be logs, a sign background, or they could prop up one end of the couch in your 'Horders, Buried Alive' series of 3d models that make great Christmas gifts.


1 comment:

  1. John Christensen12 October 2011 at 07:18


    Great tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to create and post that. I know it takes a lot of time and work.

    One question about the scuplting tools. I definitely don't have a good grasp on those tools. I always think I have over done it and doesn't look natural. Can you explain which sculpting tool you used and the settings (strength etc)?