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, 23 August 2013

Can I get a Light....House

The show were currently working on, Zerby Derby, requires a new lighthouse for the townsfolk cars and trucks.

Phil, the director and series creator, sent me over a couple of images of his idea for the lighthouse.
Nothing complicated, a pretty straightforward design.

The drawings were all done as 2d vectors, that would eventually get cut on our Techno, from 1/4" PVC. PVC is the first choice for this. It holds up well outside, is light and easy to cut, and a dream to paint!
The main tower was pretty simple, especially with our angle jig for routing miters. And as always, I use masking tape as a hinge to hold the pieces together, and evenly. I always tack the seams with CA glue to hold them together while I flood them with VC1. The CA works great, as I can't leave the tape on when I flood the joints, or it wicks under the tape and makes a crazy mess!
As in the reference photo, I added a thicker base portion to the lighthouse as well. Most lighthouses have doors at the bottom for the lighthouse keeper to get into the building. As the townsfolk in this show are cars and trucks, they don't really need to get into the lighthouse. So this door will actually be a hatch that holds a fake joystick to "move" the light around at the top. The joystick will be operated by one of the construction vehicles that has a robotic arm. In reality, the light will be rotated by hand, out of frame, from the back of the lighthouse.
I went with a chromed-out 4x4 offroad light for this. Simple, industrial, and weatherproof!
While I was working on the lighthouse, I also had the new truck mold machining on our little Techno.
This was laminated the exact same way as I did last year. Normally I glue my layers up after they're cut, and off the cnc. But for these molds, I want the cnc to over-cut the seam, milling off any glue that squeezed out during the lay-up.
This mold is being done from 18lb HDU. Once we pull one test piece for approval, we'll re-cut the mold from 60lb tooling board.

It was nice to have both machines cutting away! The little tabletop Techno was an amazing purchase, as it frees up our big machine for 4X8 sheet stuff like the lighthouse!


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