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, 4 September 2012

boat building 101

With Dug the dump truck all finished and painted up (we didn't have any painted eyes) it was time to tackle Bob the boat.

Production had supplied the start of a vac-mold they were working on, but it didn't fit the boat properly, and it was WAY to much work to refurbish.
At the start of the job, the director want the boat to be wearing a dive mask, or goggles, or something water related.
After a quick Google search, I settled on this style of mask. I brought the image into Corel, cropped it in half, and created the vectors. For ease of machining on our Techno cnc, the mask portion would be cut from 14" pvc. I had the router cut a small pocket where the eye cutouts are, this will aid in the trimming of the vacuum form part. We'll be able to follow the shape with the dremmel, eliminating any guesswork.

The next part of the equation was the 3d portion of the boat cowling. I modeled this up in Hexagon. I didn't model the flat base plate that fits into the boat opening, that will be a table saw cut job.
Before I committed the geometry to a piece of HDU, I brought the model into aspire on its side. This allowed me to create a vector boundary around the model, for export back into Corel. With an accurate profile of the 3d piece, I could then double check the mask profiles. As the mask portion will be all layered flats, sitting on the angled front plane of the 3d model, some of the dimensions will change. And I only want to do this model once, so it was important to have all the clearances for the animatronic eye plate that fits up inside.
Once the mask was tweaked to work with the 3d model profile, I was confident I could start cutting all the parts!
The pull came out great! There was a tiny bit of webbing at the corners of the mask, but I knew that was going to happen because I wanted the under cut from the mask plate to the body form. It would have looked pretty cheesy without it. These got ground down with a dremmel pretty quickly, and as we were painting the outside of these pieces, it wasn't an issue.

While I was fiddling with this stuff, the boat itself was drying from its bright coat of yellow paint we applied.
We had painted the cowl in a bright orange colour to start, but decided that it sucked all the sleekness away from the overall look of the boat package, so we went back to the yellow colour, and added orange pin stripes to the hull.
Another character off the list. The only part I didn't get a picture of was the boat all assembled with the eyes. We added a blue vinyl sticker of the mask frame, to really accent the dive mask.

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