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, 8 May 2013

Got a big lock that needs opening?

Our newest build is a giant skeleton key. I have no idea where it's going, or for what it's for, but I don't need to know. I just wanna build! I do know that it's not going outside, so that makes material choices easy.

I drew the vector files of the handle in Aspire, and mirrored them for the back side. Even though the front and the back are the same, I find it safer to mirror than copy. Just in case something moves a tiny bit, they'll still line up.
I never wanted to 3d machine this part, largely due to the deadline, and mostly due to hand sanding after. So the obvious choice was using the v-carve horsepower of Aspire 4. I only had a 3/4" 90 degree v-bit in the shop, so I had to toolpath with that. All in all, it took an hour to v-carve, v-profile, and cut out on the Techno. This handle is quite large at 47" wide.
Aspire's V-carve engine is really fluid, and you can definitely see it in the motion of the machine. HDU was the material of choice for this. A little overkill, but lighter than MDF, And there isn't the labor associated with hard-coating styrofoam.
It looked great right of the Techno!
I hogged out a channel in the stem of the handle for a piece of 3/4" iron pipe. I'll run a threaded rod down this pipe to clamp it to the cap that will mount on the pipe we're using for the key shaft.
I wish I had about twice as many clamps as I do, but they seem to be doing the job well enough!
Tomorrow we'll get started on cleaning the handle up, and finishing the rest of it!

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