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, 5 December 2013

Paper Mache Lottery!

With the cast sections for the breakaway football almost dried, they were slipped over the rigid portion of the football. We were pushing our luck with the dry time on these, but we managed to get them de-molded safely! We used a regular staple gun to tack the paper section to the framed wood section, then followed up with a quick trim, and nail set!

With the two halves mated into one piece, the next step was to cover the rigid portion of the football with paper mache, and blend the seam away. Again, the mighty drying powers of the sun were employed anywhere we could!
In the end, we also used some scenic mud to add additional texture to the props to further drive home the textured surface of paper mache. Jody and Anna got the base coats applied to all the oversized pinata's.
While the ladies were working on the paint portions, I started to tackle the 2 oversized pencils that would become the tool to smash open the pinata's. We decided on 2, in case something tragic happened on set, they would have a backup pencil to use. The diameter of the pencil was spec'd out at 5 inches. I thought about just using a cedar 6X6 milled to the shape, but it was impossible to find one that was light enough, and didn't have shrink cracks down the length of it. In the end, I went with 3/4" maple plywood, with each section mitered to the correct angle.
Using masking tape as a hinge, the sections were rolled up, using a urethane glue and staples to complete the shape. Once the glue dried, we capped the ends, and poured measured amounts of casting resin down the inside, rolling the pencil to get the resin in every nook and cranny. A fair amount leaked out in places, but that's the exact reason for doing it. I wanted to fill every space on the seams with a quick hardening adhesive, adding the maximum strength possible.
The tip of the pencil was fabricated from 2X4 pine stock. Again, these were 6 sections, compound mitered on the table saw. Once the glue and resin had set, I drilled straight down the tip for the 5/8" carriage bolt that will add the bulk of the strength by tying all the sections together.
The rounded head of the carriage bolt would become the pillar of strength for when the pencil is used as a battering ram through several dry-walled set walls! Plus, when we paint it, it'll have the rounded tip of used pencil lead!


  1. Jamie, you are seriously smart my man. great job.
    I know you guys up north got the thanksgiving date all screwed up, so what day do you celebrate Christmas?

  2. Thanks! We in Canada celebrate Christmas on July 18th :)