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, 10 October 2012

I aint got no potatoes!

Sadly, the 3d machining a potato job disappeared :(
It would have been amusing, to say the least, to brag about my awesome cnc skills with raw potatoes, but early creative jobs quite often get shelved until the ideas get re-tooled. OR.........somebody else has more experience cnc machining vegetables, and they went with them! It can happen..........

We finished the mountain of cardboard stencils that the township had ordered. We're still waiting on the material for the last 200 pcs. Man, I thought MDF dust got everywhere, this stuffs insane, even with our dust collector. I did get to enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend, all 3 days of it. In truth, I got a little bored, but the time off was kinda nice.

I decided to finish up the remainder on the shelves, as we have a set piece that goes to camera on Sunday, for 'Million Dollar Neighborhood' that airs on OWN network.

It was pretty much just small details and paint left on the 3 shelves to do, so we worked at finishing them off.
We had a few rolls of rubber tubing left over from the Turbo Town build, so I thought that they would make great hydraulic lines to the cylinders that support the shelves. A few quick coats of copper spray-paint, and they were good to go.
I REALLY, REALLY didn't want to spend the time fabricating little hydraulic hose-fittings, but terminating the lines right into the cylinder would look a little odd. So I rooted through our numerous boxes of stuff, and came across these styrene plastic beads. PERFECT! They even had a hole in them for the mounting screw. All they needed was a quick shot of brass, and then they're done.
The cylinder bottom got it's base coat of Rustoleum hammered copper paint, and we did the brass powder on the gloss black paint trick for the piston. I didn't want a chrome piston as it would be to cold with the other metals we've got going on in the room.
With a little patina, the tubes and fittings worked out really really well! The nice thing about the rubber hose is it's very flexible if it gets accidentally bumped by a chair or broom.
The shelves are rock solid now that they're mounted up to the wall. The underside still needs a little attention with some paint, but other than that they're good to go. These shelves can take upwards of 60 lbs, so theres no danger of them collapsing with anything I'll be putting on them to display!
The space is starting to look pretty good now. It's already come a long way from the bare, cold room it was! We still have another counter to build, and a bookshelf as well, but at least most the stuff is all up and off the floor now.

On a side note, the model-maker I had hired to work on Turbo Town, John Anderson, was in working on a project for his client. It's a trophy for a Halloween contest. Its looking pretty good so far. It's going to have a miniature haunted house sitting on a hillside, supported by some bones. Great concept.
John actually drew up all the parts in Illustrator, then with some toolpathing guidelines by yours truly, he set up all the pocketing and profile cutting tool-paths in Aspire, to run on our Techno cnc.
This is great for me, unpaid training that I will soon be able to take advantage of, on some future jobs!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!

We were cutting all the doors and windows from 1/8" styrene, with a 1/16" cutter, at around 92 ipm. I guess I could've pumped up the speed,but I like my little cutter and wanted to keep it for a while!


  1. John Christensen12 October 2012 at 08:14

    Love the over sized Lego guy! Can we get some detail on how it was made? Perhaps a post?