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, 26 September 2013

Is that the light at the end of the tunnel?

First off, I hate not posting regularly. It makes me feel out of touch for some reason. I find that posting at the end of each day wraps up the events that happened, and helps me get my bearings for the next day! The 6 days since my last post have been exhausting. I was able to take a day off today to catch up on my highly neglected quad copter camera rig. I do feel a little re-charged, and I shouldn't have to do weeks of 18 hour days for a bit.

The Zeby Derby build progressed at an extremely quick pace, considering all that was left to do.
The helicopter character "Chase" spent quite awhile in the body shop. As the budget doesn't allow for new body pulls of the character, it became a glue and paint repair job. There were  few cracks in the panels, and tons of paint chips. Jody spent a good day feathering out all the paint chips. We were able to mask off the graphics, so they didn't need replacing.
In the end, Chase looked as good as when we first created him. Although, I'm sure this will be the last shooting season for these panels. We didn't make the molds for this character last year, they were hand made by someone in production, so If we have to re-do this guy next year, we'll cnc all new parts, making it easier to assemble, being that all the parts will fit together properly!
The other job on the go was building the garage for "Ratchet" the pink utility truck. John designed up the building, and we both kind of worked on assembly. I ran the pvc for the 1.5" siding strips while John assembled all his pieces into a structure.

Once the walls were sided, and pre-drilled for assembly, it was off to paint. We went with a blue-ish grey, complimenting the pink accents that the finished building will have.
The 2 roof panels got textured in a faux gravel look. This saved some time over making the roof with shingles, which we were originally planning to do.

Once they paint dried, John got it all assembled into it's final structure. Look, we even do miniature signs! On set, the whole outside of the building will be strewn with various colorful car parts, including stacks of rims and tires leaning against the posts.

The director brought us these extended grippers that they wanted painted the construction vehicle color. I do believe one of these will get hacked and will hang from the crane truck. This will allow them to pick things up in camera easily, while the editing will make it look like the crane truck is actually doing it.
The other item they asked for was a Zerby Derby vehicle lift. This will reside outside Ractchets garage, and she'll be able to repair the other Zerbies with her robotic arm. Only on camera of course!
Jody was able to get the additional sleepy and closed eyes made for some of the vehicles that required them. The half closed ones are my favorite!
I also had to fabricate the heli landing pad for the helicopter. I went back and forth with the best materials for this, and decided that I would just weld up a steel frame. The legs need to adjustable, so I used 2 sizes of steel tubing, and welded a nut to the outer tubing, allowing them to adjust and lock the legs to whatever terrain it may have to sit on.
 The actual pad was made from white 1/4" pvc, masked with the character logo, and textured like gravel. It would look good with a big H, but there can't be numbers or letters at all, so the heli's logo made the best sense.
There was a fairly big set back in the middle of it all, as they changed the color on two characters, so we ended up having to pull a pile more car and truck bodies with a new color scheme. The maximum amount of cars bodies we can turn out a day is five, so it really ended up pushing us to our limits! This wasn't an easy task to fulfill with the Saturday delivery schedule. So we had to work even more hours to get it done, and delivered to location for Saturday afternoon. We succeeded, but were pretty tired!
Jody and I got back to the house around 5 pm Saturday, and I went to bed!
Which was a good thing, because we were now 2 days behind on our next build. The new build was for 4, full size airplane seats for a print campaign. There will be 4 full seats, 2- 5" thick red X's, and 3 chair backs that they'll shoot through. The pre-light was on Wednesday, for shooting today.

I'll post that build over the next day or two, while we start on a 7 foot cartoon, hockey playing shark!
Say that ten times really fast!

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