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.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Hot Weather, Sign Magazines, and 3d routing!

What a week! Jody and I booked off for a super last minute vacation to Panama, which was killer HOT! Woo-Hoo!
While we were away, a couple of things came up that were kinda cool.
The first was finding out that our work is on the cover of both the 2013 and 2014 Sign Media Canada's Buyers guide! This is a great honor for us for sure!

Special thanks to Peter Saunders for supplying the covers images to us!
The second cool thing is that we'll be back in Bridgeton, Indiana on June 1st through the 3rd. teaching 3D modelling and routering.
Unlike years past, this year will be just Jody and myself teaching. I will be covering the 3D end of things, and Jody will be teaching color theory and paint techniques. This will be pretty intense, depending on peoples skillset, but no-one will leave without a great handle on things!
Here is the course outline:

                                3D MODELING COURSE FOR CNC
We'll cover the basics of sub-division surface modelling. Understanding how the
software calculates surface smoothing, and how to control it in your favour.
I'll be teaching this with the 3D software package 'Hexagon' which is available for less
than $20 through the DAZ 3D website. This will be a hands on learning, and everyone
should come equipped with a laptop, and the software installed. This process can then
be carried over to any other SDS modelling package, as they mostly all behave the same.
We will then create a small scene, and you'll learn the proper workflow for carrying your
scene over into your CAM package. We'll also focus on optimizing your geometry for
relief carving. Due to the different Skill-sets of everyone, we'll allow ample time for
everyone to work on their projects, and ask for quick one-on-one help.
We'll be teaching using ASPIRE, but the workflow will also pertain to other “art-based”
CAM packages as well. Being that this will be taught in ASPIRE, it would make sense
to also have ASPIRE installed on your laptop as well. You can download a trial from the
Vectric website.
The trial versions will not allow you to save a toolpath for your CNC other than the
special sample files that are included. However any files that are created and saved with
the trial versions of ASPIRE can be opened and made fully operational once you
purchase and install the full version of the software as long as it is installed on the same
PC as the trial version software.
We'll bring our day 1 scene into ASPIRE, and use the powerful toolset to add more
detail to the scene.
We'll then cover toolpathing of the scene, optimizing the cutting strategies for the best
finish and machining time! We'll have an actual piece on the CNC, so we can see the
real-world results as we pick the different strategies.
This will be devoted to color theory. Understanding why colors work, and don't work
together. Alot of people can be intimidated by this portion, and we'll aim to make it
easy! We'll also cover a few painting styles, from glazing, to dry-brushing and washes.
This will be a pretty intense 3 days, but this will remove some of the mystery out of 3D
CNC routing. This will be good for both the newcomer, and the experienced, looking to
move into the 3D world, or learn some new techniques.

If anyone is interested in signing up, this can be done through the event organizer Robert Jones

Hopefully we'll get to see you there!


  1. Congratulations on the covers!
    The class sounds great...

  2. Congrats... your work really deserve that. Reading this I have remembered my 3d design publications.

  3. Congrats... Find here some amazing and interesting design by Spacialists - http://www.spacialists.com/