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.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More samples

I really like creative dimensional signage. I've said this many times before. Signage like the stuff at Disney World, Universal, and all the other imaginative theme parks. I often spend hours looking at images online, or vacation photos from the past. In fact, my good friend Joe at Christoff Creations and I went on a road trip 2 years ago to Disney world just to photograph the amazing displays and signage. All of it is very valuable reference material. That being said, I am always thinking up new things to fabricate as samples. I am a big believer in making samples of the things you WANT to make more of. Why make samples of the things you don't want to make? I have started a new sign sample that I will cart around with me to different events, as well as display in the shop. I decided to make a sign for 'Pelican's Landing Marina'. I don't know if this place exists or not, but I sure like the name! This will be a 'woodgrain' sign made with the same technique in the post tutorial I just did. I also decided it would be neat to have a pelican sitting in a nest he built on the top of the sign. So I got to work building the pelican and nest in Hexagon. I didn't need to model any textures in Hexagon, as they are WAY to easy to add later in Aspire.
For the nest, I just used the displacement brush in Hex, and 'painted' a quick rough texture. I probably won't add anything to the nest in Aspire as I will most likely do it quickly with a dremel tool to hide the seams. In order to be able to add the textures easily in Aspire to the different parts of the pelican, I exported all the parts as obj files separately. This way I can add feathers to just the wing without worrying about overlap on the nest. After all the artsy stuff was done on the pelican, I split the model for our 2" HDU thickness and sent it to our Techno cnc.
After a short while, I had all the bird parts machined and glued up. I spent about an hour with the dremel, shaping the seams on the nest and adding the undercuts to the wings, etc. Off to primer!
Heres where I was by the end of the day on the pelican. Tomorrow I will finish the painting on him, and start on the sign body cleanup and priming.
The sign body looks pretty sweet as well. The machine time was a little long, as I added a 2nd toolpath at 90 degrees to the first one. The 2nd toolpath was done with an 1/8" cutter at an 8 percent step over. The run time on this was 1 hour 22 min. Total machine time, including roughing pass, was 3 hrs for the sign body.

On another note, I was at the store tonight that we did this sign for a couple of years ago. Still looks pretty good. This was type 3 eps foam, hardcoated with urethane.

 Tomorrow we start fabricating a shark cage for a print add. They only need 2 walls for the shot, so I assume there wont be any sharks in with the diver. :) This shoots on Tuesday, so we are good on time. Which is good for a change

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