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, 1 November 2011

The flying machine starts!

I had a bunch of letters to cut on our Techno cnc yesterday, so I didn't get around to getting the materials for the flying machine until today. I didn't grab all the materials, as this job will get a little complicated, and I haven't gotten my head around all the components yet! The main structure, and the wing geometry is all figured out, so I started cutting into the material for that at around noon. I managed to get the moving parts of the 'Davinci' styled wings cut. These will be 4 curved 'fingers' that will have some sort of lightweight fabric attached between them, kinda like a bats wing. These will be retracted back to the body of the plane, and upon pulling a cable, will open up and stretch the fabric. The nice thing about this prop is that it needs to look like it was hand built by an inventor with more book knowledge than practical knowledge. So we will have exposed tension cables, some pulleys, etc.
Our Techno cnc cut throught the starting pieces pretty quickly. I finally got a vacuum hold down for it, and I am not sure that it's 100% set up right. So if anyone has any tips or tricks, I would love to hear from you. It's an 8.5 hp regenerative blower style. It seems to be pulling 12 hg with all the valves closed, but sucking through a surfaced piece of 3/8" mdf, with a sheet of sintra on it, the gauge reads 8 hg. I suspect this isn't quite enough vacuum for the jobs I have planned, so I will keep searching out information. Anyways, the 8 fingers got cut. I also ripped up 1/4" X 3/4" strips that get attached to each side of these fingers. This will give me the extended length on the fingers, while keeping them strong and lightweight.
These fingers will attach to another open framed piece that will then attach to the body of the machine. All of these have a central pivot point, allowing them to open via the cable system.

These parts are a lot bigger than they appear, each finger is around 8 feet long. This is the position they will be in when fully open. I think it's gonna look pretty sweet with the fabric webbing. This machine is going to be quite nice when its all done. We are going with a mahogany stain on maple wood, and will have a lot of brass hardware. I'm a little excited to start up again in the morning!

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