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, 8 February 2013

Entertainment Engineering!

Oxenham Design was very quiet today! Due totally to the snow storm we're experiencing! They haven't even plowed our road yet, and it's 6:30 pm. Oh well, we're all in the same boat around here! I decided to use our snowblower to help most of our neighbors dig out. A lot of them are getting older, and there was no way they could shovel this much snow. In fact, I couldn't shovel this much snow!

We finished all of our "Alphabet soup" job, and got it delivered to the sign shop that needed it.

Yesterday was spent cutting sheets, and sheets and sheets of plywood for a series of vending machine bases. We do these from time to time for a local vending company. The space between these jobs is just long enough for me to forget exactly what everything is, sending me back to Aspire to refresh my brain with all the toolpath set-ups!

This was my whole day! I often talk about how our Techno cnc saves us a huge amount of time and money. It does the work of a dedicated employee, without any mess ups or breaks!
However, the real truth is that I get a little mesmerized by it. Effectively causing me to stand around and watch it in awe, wasting time. Oh, it's an awful catch 22!

I was sent a link today that I thought I would share.
It's a two part story on us, and our Techno cnc, featured in Entertainment Engineering magazine!

Stephen Glad did a great job with the interview and story! Thanks again Stephen!

Well, I hate to say this, but we won't be doing any fabrication at the shop this coming week, as we have a commitment that we need to fullfill. However, I will be back to our blog starting on the 18th.
We have a number of neat things coming up, and I can hardly wait to get started on them!
Until then, everyone take care!!!!!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Alphabet Infinity Soup!

Last week was a pretty awesome week for me! We finished up the marketing models, then I headed off to Thunder Bay to teach Vectric's V-carve Pro software to the high school Tech department. It was a great experience! A special thanks to Brian at Tools Wood for taking care of all the arrangements!

I met a boat load of awesome people, which more than made up for the -26 Celsius that gripped the area.
Today started off with our sweet coffee lady and her thoughtful, fun lids. Nice!
Although we have some pretty neat jobs coming up, it's pretty much all bare bones cnc routering this week. We worked the weekend cutting the camera mounting plates. I don't think we're allowed to post the pictures though.
So with 30 camera mounts needing shipping cartons, and no real rush for the other projects, I decided to use all the computational power of Aspire, and the amazing speed of our Techno cnc to draw box shapes on a piece of cardboard we had. Talk about LAZY!
I loaded a Sharpie into the spindle, and sent the file to the router. A few quick X-acto knife cuts and BAM! Custom shipping boxes. It worked really well! So my boxes fit perfectly and are ready to ship out tomorrow morning.
The rest of this week will all be cutting out shapes and letters. These guys are all 2" Ultraboard, which is just styrofoam with a .015" skin of styrene on each side. Perfect for lightweight interior signage. We actually cut a ton of stuff for the local sign shops.
So our first stack is complete, and they'll probably be about 10 more!
Sometimes, just routering stuff out, no painting, and no assembly suits me just fine!!!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Marketing in Miniature: Turning over the keys!

Today is the final build day on the miniature stores. The truck came at 5, and we just made it! For some reason, we were able to really enjoy this build. Even though the timeline got squashed at the end due to the "mid-project" prop build we had to, I still found the time to really appreciate the models. Back in the summer on the Turbo-Town build, I had no time to enjoy the work, just build and ship, build and ship. And when it was done, on to something else. This has been great.
I think a lot of it is because these clients are so low stress, they are a dream to work for!
I started the day off by assembling all the wall panels. When I painted the window glazing, the first coat of paint was the wall color, followed by the silver mullion color. This meant that from the inside, the window mullions were wall color, but on the outside they were silver. As the ABS lacquer is very opaque, it blocked any light from showing through the silver, which would have looked pretty bad.
Once the walls were assembled and glued down to the base, I installed the 3/4" thick pvc shelf blocks around the perimeter of the store. I pocketed in 2 holes in each block. These holes will get a 5/8" screw driven into them. The thought being that we will glue magnets to the backs of the shelf facades we made, and they will grab onto the screws. This will allow them to just quickly attach new shelves, with different product graphics, if they choose. I do believe that eventually they want these to represent an assortment of stores, from liquor stores, to grocery/ convenience stores. The swap out shelves will be fool-proof for them.
Once the walls were all together, I was able to fab the sidewalk pads that will butt up against the bottom of the walls. I had to do these manually, just in-case the model wasn't dead center on the base, which proved to be exactly what happened! The concrete expansion joints were quickly added by our little table saw with a .040" blade. The sidewalk serves 2 purposes for us. One, it cleans up the look of the building by hiding the wall to floor seam, and two, it creates the final side of the "track" for the walls. Effectively giving more gluing surface for the walls/ base joint. So the walls of the building ends up pinched between the interior floor, and the sidewalk pads.
Once the sidewalk pads were glued down, I wrapped the sides of the bases with a brushed metal laminate, then installed the final block-work around the walls. The last bit of assembly was to attach the entrance arch to the columns.

We actually took these final pictures while the models were half way out the door. As I look back on this post as I write it, It amazes me how simple and easy the model looks, yet I know how many hours went into it. It seems the more work you put into building something, the more you make it look simple!

 The final step now, is to fabricate the small labels that will identify all the zones they want. Were going to build those over the weekend, for delivery to Vancouver.
Then I'm off to teach Vectric software for 2 days up in Thunder Bay, ON.
That should be a lot of fun, I like teaching. Which is ironic, because I hated school!