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.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Bringin on the Texture!

O.K. I'll admit it. Sometimes I get distracted. I snuck in some time to work on a project that I have been wanting to make for a while. As I have been infront of the computer lately, I decided to draw it up, with the intention of running it on our Techno cnc.

This will be a motorized piece that will live at the shop, but I will take to various training seminars I get to teach at.

 I just rendered it quickly for the blog, as I know what it will look like when it's finished. The bare vectors I drew up in Corel. I did it this way to allow me to use some of the shaping tools available to quickly shape the wonky edges. The main rock heap won't be cut on our Techno cnc as it will be faster to sculpt by hand. And because it needs to be hollow. I'm hollowing it out to allow me to put in a gear motor that will slowly spin the word 'texture' at the top of the sign.
Getting it to look awesome was done in Aspire.
I first created a shallow bend with the 2 rail sweep function. This will allow the relief to kinda bulge in the middle.
 I selected the outside vector of my design and raised it up to give it some additional thickness. Then I picked the two vectors that create the border for the text, and raised them up as a new component.
I just kept on moving along and raised the outline of the text base plate up as well. This will help define the text a bit more, and give it a more polished look.
And finally, the actual text. I decided to make the top of the text angular for a bit more interest. I don't generally go with an angle greater than 30 degrees, as Aspire keeps the exact angle all around each letter, which can look silly with too steep of an angle. True ISO form letters would have the angle increase, or decrease, depending on the width of the text. As this isn't a feature yet, I just keep the angle low, so it's less noticeable!
Finally, to add the magic of texture. I created a bitmap image in Photoshop awhile ago that I use for most of my bumpy textures. I imported this in, and coverted it to a component, with a bump height of around .180".

This I wanted to cover the whole block, so I don't need to do any trimming at all. I could use the text vectors to trim the texture away, leaving the letters clean and texture free...........but that would look poopy. After all, it does say texture!

 Using the very outside vector, I trimmed the texture away, leaving the final model ready to cut.
I will mirror this whole model, less the text, and apply them back to back. This way, the word 'texture' will always appear while it is slowly rotating. I'm quite happy so far. I am going to cut this with my trusty 1/16" tapered ball nose cutter on Saturday. I will post about modelling the other portions as I progress.
It's funny how goofing off from 'work' still leads to running our Techno cnc.
8)
JO

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