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, 2 January 2013

Back from the Holidays! Woo-Hoo!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and New Years!
We actually worked through most of the holidays. Anymore than 3 days max, and I start to get shop-sick. It actually becomes almost a craving to make things again!
We have a few jobs already lined up, so I wanted to get to work on our own sign before the craziness started back up. Plus, I'm a little tired of working around all the pieces for the sign, and I don't really want them to get damaged. After all, we did start this sign last May, and try to work on it around other stuff.

I had decided that I wanted a small marker buoy on the left side of the sign, to add a small bit of drama to the scene.
The base was made entirely from white pvc. I had to flatten the back of it a little to fit into the allotted space. I love the idea of it looking like it's about to slide off the edge of the water. I penciled on the contour of the water onto the base, so it would fit cleanly. This way I don't have to cut into the styrofoam hard-coat.
The structure for the rest of it was soldered up from 1/2" copper pipe. Quick and easy! Plus I love the slightly thick tubing look to it. Very toon-ish! I also added brass furniture tacks for the rivets on the base. I soldered pipe caps onto the end of the pipe to give me something to screw into. The pvc and copper pipe are held securely with stainless steel fastners. When I made the water portion of the sign, I had glued 3/4" plywood down the center of the styrofoam, before encapsulating it all in the urethane hardcoat. The hole in the base is for the large galvanized carriage bolt. This bolt runs through the styrofoam and bolts to the plywood trapped in the water. I texture coated the whole thing with a paint-able, rubberized undercoating spray.
I decided I wanted a small HDU sign that will mount to the marker buoy. It made sense that the sign have the name of the lake that our town sits on the edge of. The vectors were then imported into Aspire for all the cool work!
It only took about a minute to build up all the dimension for it in Aspire. A quick woodgrain background, and some dimensional text and off to our Techno cnc it went.

I shot some video of our Techno lc3024 peacefully carving away:

I did a little work to it once it came off the machine by ways of a dremmel tool. Just to give the sides some woodgrain detail. The whole sign will end up being weathered wood.  It's going to look pretty sweet fastened to the little buoy!
Due to the depth constraints of the sign, 2 of the cartoon seagulls will be mounted somewhat sideways. This means that at least 1 foot will be visible. I had machined enough feet for all the gulls, but in the end, only 1 foot on 2 seagulls will actually get used, as you'll never, ever see the other side.
The feet were machined from pvc with the forethought that I would probably need to bend them at some point. I heated them up quickly with a propane torch, and bent them to the shape of the rock. I tack glued them with CA glue, then ran a 3" finishing screw up into the body.
It looks like he's really got a grip on things now! The screw section was filled over with epoxy putty, and Jody quickly sculpted it to shape.
 I drilled out the bottoms of the seagulls for the 5/16" threaded rod. I also carved in a deep groove inside the hole, so when we poured in the urethane resin, it would actually mechanically lock into the body. These birds won't be flying the coop anytime soon!
Jody made some pretty good headway on the painting of the gulls. She base coated them in white, then painted the wings out in a grey color. The head and neck portion was painted with the Rustoleum metallic pearlescent color. These are killer paints! Rustoleum also makes the same paint for Modern Masters. The pearl was just the right amount of shimmer for the head, while still separating it from the body.
Oooh, I'm getting excited now. Soon our sign will be ready to install, even though it's winter :(
Oh well, it'll be summer again at some point!

1 comment:

  1. you are a awesome jamie. you make it look easy and its crazy how fast you can put it all together.