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, 18 April 2012

The Oxenham Aviary

I had 2 meetings today, one first thing in the morning, and one this afternoon. This left the day in-between to do a little work on our seagulls. I got the bodies and heads glued together, as well as the last slice of the wing cut and fastened on.

While these were setting up, I was able to toolpath the top portion of all 3 beaks. I havent posed the 4th seagull, so I haven't addressed him at all yet.
I could have applied 1 more level of smoothing to the beaks in Hexagon, but I figured that the whole beak would get sanded down because of the joints anyway, so I didn't sweat it too much. I sliced the beak for our 3/4 inch PVC sheet in Aspire, and the pieces lined up perfectly!
 I quickly test fit the beak, and I'm quite happy with it. I've been cnc'ing models for 6 years now, and I always get amazed when the real thing looks exactly like the computer model. I know, I'm a geek!


  1. Hi there,
    How do you get on with the StyroSpray 'slumping' on vertical surfaces? Do you spray a model in one hit from the side and work your way around? Or do you spray from the top, turning after it dries to spray the other 'sides'?

  2. You have to build it in thinner coats. Then let it kick for 30 min or so, as long as you re-coat within 60 min, the layers will bond well. Your right though, it can be a little poopy on vertical surfaces. I find the smallest openning on a hopper gun works well, takes a bit of time to build up though.

  3. OK great. Thanks Jamie. How many coats do you usually end up going for? And how much airflow and pressure do you find works for the nicest spray pattern?

  4. Depends what the application is. If it needs to survive outside with people touching it, 1/4". If it's an indoor thing without people having access to it, then I usually use enough to smooth out the styrofoam. As for pressure etc, not to high, or it just fogs up the room in a giant death cloud! Around 30 max. For the most part, it kinda sprays like wet toilet paper and looks rough, but the more coats the smoother it gets. I will probably just brush it on our sign.