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.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Marketing in Miniature #5!

Our miniature marketing model is in full swing. We have to deliver tomorrow by end of day. We should be in good shape. There are a bunch of little tags with magnetic bases that go along with the model, but we don't need those till early next week.

I started the day by having our Techno cnc chew out the plates for the 8 shelving units that run around the perimeter of the buildings. I drew these up in Aspire, and had the software cut a .0625" track for each of the 6 shelf strips. These are going to be .060X.080 strips that symbolize the shelf. As we are adding prints of wine bottles, there's really no need for the whole shelf.
 Just before we left yesterday, I made the 3" thick, 30X30" bases that the buildings will sit on. Pretty basic stuff, hollow, with a few ribs for strength. I wanted all the wood glue nice and dry before I started to contact cement the 1/8" pvc slab. I'm using pvc, as it glues really well to the styrene walls that will be sitting on it, plus it contact cements really well. And I have a lot of it at the moment!
Once the pvc was down, I drilled 5 mounting holes into the 1/16" sheet metal, used some heavy duty carpet tape, and fastened it to the base. This will get covered by .025" styrene that will get the floor treatment. Again, the metal is just for the magnetic pieces that will populate the store. Normally we don't do this quite this way.
All of our little fixtures got their paint job last night, and were fully dry by this morning. Woo Hoo!
It's taken a total of 2 days to trim and install all the shelf prints. This seems like a long time, but they were a total pain in the.............. Jody did a great job, I didn't get frustrated once! We also cut a brushed aluminum frame that frames in the upper portion of the larger gondola's. These were just vinyl cut on our plotter. Once again, Jody got it done, and I didn't even break a sweat!
I added the coping stone to the top of the exterior stone-work, and grooved it on our little table saw. These were all done from pvc.
These got a kind of khaki color as the base coat.
Once the paint was almost dry, I speckled a fine misting of the exterior stucco color over top. This is done by thinning the paint quite a bit, then using a very low psi through the gun, letting the mist settle where it may. You can get some really great effects like this. We're painting most of this model with ABS laquer. It bonds right into the styrene and pvc, and it can be sanded in less than 10 minutes. Now were talkin!
Here's a closer view, to make it a bit easier to see. Looks pretty good. The only draw back to this process is that it can visually hide a lot of the detail, so Jody mixed a small amount of grey, and darkened the mortar joints.
We used the same technique for the floor as well. I didn't add any tile work grout lines, as I think a .5"X.5"  grid pattern would distract from the intended interior application. It keeps the inside clean. We used all the building colors in the floor speckle. Including the silver from the fridges. It kind of gives a neat effect as you move around the model.
The final bit today was getting the fridge assemblies finished. We were given very specific layouts for the freezer, and were supplied all the artwork. We had to keep checking the layout to make sure the cases of beer were all in the correct order! Overall, I think these fridges rock! They're gonna look great at the back of the store. If it wasn't -20 outside, I'd feel like crackin' a cold one!

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