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, 6 June 2013

Canadian Sign Embassy

I mentioned yesterday that we had given a plaque of sorts to Colloms General Store, crowning them as the Canadian Sign Embassy, and this was the plaque we made and presented.

The first order of things for me was to create the beaver! I did a google image search for beavers, to get a feel for what he should look like! I like to go to 3d as quick as possible. I think that it might have something to do with my weak-ish sketching skills, but massing it in 3d helps me get a feel for how the whole thing will work together.
Working in a low resolution state, and occasionally smoothing the model, lets me get an idea of how the figure is proceeding. Low res for the general shaping, and smoothing for the tweaking.
I modeled most of the beaver with symmetry applied. This keeps both sides exactly the same. Sometimes it can get out of control if I don't have both sides the same. Once I was totally happy, I turned off symmetry, and started to distort the left side of the model, so he had a bit more character.
The eyes were simple spheres, with the pupils extruded inwards a little. I was able to just build the right eye, then mirror it for the left, and distort it to fit visually.
I created a single half sphere and flew it in on the right, mirrored it over, and distorted it as well.
The teeth were then added from a simple cube primitive, shaped to fit. Both teeth are actually one single mesh, but I could have easily made a left and right tooth, and just pushed them together. Once imported into Aspire, the software treats it like one whole model. If we were 3d printing this character, we would have to try and keep the mesh as single as possible. Glad were not doing that!
I decided at the last minute to add a winter toque, as it can be stereotypically cold all year long in Canada :)

I drew up most of the vectors, and imported them into Aspire. I used the 2 rail sweep to get the outer ring to have a slight dome shape. I made a textured bit map a while ago that I use for a rough style texture. This was used to give a little texture and interest to an otherwise boring surface.
The center circle was dished out to allow a little depth for the beaver model.
Once the beaver model was imported and located, I decided to add some "sun rays" radiating outward. This helped the beaver head from looking to small in the recess.
Finally the text went on. I decided to use a casual style font for the lower portion of the sign. Almost like it was added as a last minute decision, without regard for the "official"-ness of this particular government symbol.

Next step--------------Techno cnc!

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