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, 20 July 2012

Clamydia Finally!

 I found the final print spot for our Chlamydia necklace build on the Westside Studio blog!

 The final looks great! Plus it's kinda fun to creep the Westside blog!!!

Here's the build progress if you didn't get a chance to see it before:

Saturday I went into the shop to machine the Chlamydia necklace. I should note that this necklace is for a print campaign bringing awareness to STD's. The art department supplied the vector format for us. I had to adjust the size a little to accommodate the size of the diamonds we were using. These are cubic zirconia flat-back diamonds, not real ones. Otherwise I would have just left the country with them and saved all the work!
I brought the file into Corel Draw first, as I needed to figure out where all the stones were going to go (there are actually over 200 of them). I could have done this in Aspire, but somethings are better in Corel for me.

When I was happy with the way all the stones fit, I exported the file out for use in Aspire. I didn't need the stone layout for machining, so I just deleted them. I decided to mill this from 1/4" T6061 aluminum so I could polish it to a high shine. Paint just wouldn't cut it for this job as it's a fairly tight shot.

I toolpathed the center using a 4 flute 1/8" endmill. I probably could have been more aggressive with my step down passes, but chose to take it lightly. The outside profile machining was done with a 1/16" endmill so I could get into most of the kerning. After it came off the machine, I started the painful part of filing the edges with a very fine file to remove all the machining marks. After the edges were flat, I moved to the buffing wheel. The polishing took quite awhile, using the dremmel to get into the tight places was nearly impossible, but perseverance paid off in the end.
Today was set aside for laying the stones in. I filled the pocket text with Sherwin Williams automotive clear coat. This has such a high gloss to it. And because it's a urethane product, it's also a serious glue. The working time with it would be around 4 hours, so I could brush it in each letter at a time, then using my labelled stone placement chart I made earlier, I placed the stones in their location. The clear will harden overnight, locking the stones down.
It took a very long time to place the stones. I had used tweezers for this task, but some stone would drop and roll away. Some would land upside down in the urethane, which means I would have to turf them, because if the clearcoat gets on the faceted surface, they lose their sparkly bling.

By the end of the day the stones were all placed. Tomorrow we are delivering it to the studio. First thing in the A.M. I will mount the rings that the chain connects to, and hook up the chain.
This was a really great job to get! I can't believe I get to do this stuff sometimes.

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