A behind the scenes look at film and television Prop making peppered with everything else creative we do!
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 ASPIREsoftware, 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, 19 September 2013
The plane character finally got finished and delivered the other evening.
This was the E-flite rc plane donor body. We needed to change the graphics on the plane to in no way resemble the kit. This was for a multitude of reasons as you can imagine.
I had used a couple of plastic cup bottoms, back filled with autobody filler to make the final shape. A piece of .060" styrene was wrapped around to become the windshield glazing.
The vacuum forming went pretty smoothly, and once they were trimmed out, test fitted to plane.
Perfect! They just need some paint.
I tasked John with drawing the graphics and we cut them from regular vinyl. Way easier than a paint job, and as the plane is all styrofoam, painting it was out of the question.
Dang! That's a lot of pink! They wanted the "Ratchet" character, who happens to be a girl utility truck, to be very pink! And pink she is!
One of Ratchet's features that they wanted was a lantern that would only light when attached to the truck. John hacked a small novelty lantern, and installed a micro switch on the side. When the lantern plugs into the trucks oversized outlet, 4 rare earth magnets lock it to the side, and the switch closes, lighting the lantern.
The robotic arm, which was laser cut from 1/4" clear acrylic, got brushed aluminum vinyl applied to all the surfaces we could get at. There was no way we were going to pull this thing apart! The arm has a total 6 degrees of freedom, and you actually need to be an octopus to control it! I'm glad it's not going to be me!
The chassis actually had to go back to production, so I couldn't get a picture of it finished on the chasis with the eyes. But this is the basic layout of the truck and arm together. The mid section sits quite a bit higher here than on the actual chassis. It still looks good though.
This is how the truck looks with the arm removed, and the "solar charging station" in it's place.
Here is the outlet and charge status indicator. We purposely made a weird looking outlet. This will let the show air in different countries, without tying it back to North America. That's why there are no letters, numbers or words. That way it can be overdubbed in any language.
We added small switches on the truck to allow them to set the "charge level" indicators, depending on what the script calls for.
Here she is all lit up, ready to cave explore with here pink lantern.
On a side note, a tragic, on set accident, saw Bob the boats head dropped onto the rocks. This resulted in him suffering a severe cranial fracture. We won't be able to fix this at all. I think the animatronic eye plate survived, but not the head! The PET-G does seem to brittle out once the paint has fully hardened, and as we made these last year, it probably contributed to the damage. The mold we made last year, which was only intended for a couple of pulls, got destroyed, so I guess poor Bob doesn't get a stunt double this year.