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, 28 December 2011

The Institute gets a sign

I have spent the last little bit over the holidays prepping an ever-growing list of 3D models for people. I do enjoy modeling in the computer. I actually find it very relaxing believe it or not! No finding space for finished pieces, not waiting for paint to dry, etc. I do love making things as well though, but the mixing it up between physical and CG is the perfect balance. I spent some time developing the sign that will hang in the new design studio. I think this sign will set the theme for the whole room. The space is a decent size at 12'X28" clear, and the best part is that it's a mezzanine, so it doesn't interfere with the actual shop space. We also will have a front entrance for sign customers to walk into, instead of right into the shop we have now. I drew up all the vectors in Aspire, and they are now ready to be built up into a relief.

Most of the gears will be hidden by the oval plate in the middle. This will keep the center clean for the mounting of the fish model. I wrestled back and forth between a cartoony style robot fish, or a more detailed movie prop type. I think the higher detailed version has won out though.
I started modelling the fish in Hexagon last week, but only got to spend small chunks of time here and there.

I started with the head portion as this will dictate how the rest of the body will be. I am not modelling any particular fish, I am just making it up as I go along. Which, as you know, can result in alot of wasted time when a better idea creeps up. This fish will be made from a whole assortment of materials. As this is an indoor sign, I can be less restricted at build time.

As the model progressed, I changed my vision quite a bit! I knew right from the start I wanted bow thrusters in the head, as well as porthole eyes. I may or may not light the eyes, I haven't decided that yet. All of the parts will be machined on our 2 machines, but not as 1 lump. It will look a whole lot more intricate as separates pieces with alot of the detail added after the routers are done. I want this fish to look like it was scooped from the ocean and returned to "The Institute", this means weathering-YAY! My favourite part.