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, 16 June 2014

3D Modelling Challenge!

While we were teaching in Indiana, a few of the attendees wanted me to launch a 3d modelling challenge. I think that this is an amazing idea! It will be great for the people who attended to push their new found knowledge. And for any experienced 3d modellers  who read the blog, it might be something to have a little fun with. So here it goes:

The challenge is to 3d model a computer mouse that looks like it is built for super fast speed. This is totally left up to your interpretation. The only requirement is that it is still recognizable as a computer mouse in the end. The deadline is July 16th. Being that this is a friendly competition, I encourage people to post progress screen shots on our forum. If your having trouble with something, or can't quite figure something out, please post your request for help. I also encourage the experienced modellers to reply to the posts to help out. Again, this is just for fun, and about pushing yourself past where you are!

Any software you choose to model in is fine, no conditions at all. The judging will be on the actual model, and not any fancy rendering, although those who can render are encouraged to do so.
Here's the link to the forum:


Good luck to all, I look forward to the creations!!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Back from Indiana!

Jody and I's teaching gig in Indiana went really well! We got to meet an amazing group of people, and see a few people from past years. Our awesome hosts, Rob and Deb Jones, did a super job of organizing the weekend, and taking care of all the food!
This was our 3rd year here, and hopefully there will be many more!

Once back home though, we were hard at it! Tuesday was an entire day of painting on the miniature slide job. Non-stop. From 8:30 am, until 12:30 am to be exact.

Our Techno quickly became a paint drying table for the many twists and turns of the slide. Even though I showered when I got home, my arm is still a weird yellowish color, almost like my liver was failing, but only on my right arm!

Production showed up this morning, and picked up all the painted pieces.
When John and I arrived on set, it was around 11:00, and all of our slide parts were laid out safely on moving blankets in the corner of the studio. Thanks guys!
The set up took a lot longer than I thought. This was due to the fact that trying to centre the whole thing on the platform was a little hit and miss. 1 little movement at the start, ended up in a really large movement at the bottom end!

However, it did eventually come together in the end!

Jody and I have to go back to the studio tomorrow, just in case anything happens to it, we'll be there with capes on our back, ready to save the day ;)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Lot's and lot's of Hours!

We have been pretty much 24/7 since Friday! The hockey museum job, and the waterslide have taken completely over the shop, and our lives!
This is largely due to the fact that we're teaching in Indiana on the weekend, and we needed to be at a certain point before we can leave.
 The tubes came together without too much fuss, and by Friday night, John had them all glued together. We have to keep the sections in a reasonable state of assembly. Meaning that we can't put too much together for painting reasons, but we need enough together to make on set assembly easy.

The trimming and clean-up, and edge sanding took a REALLY long time! One of the unsung heroes on this has been little Jody! She has sanded, and cleaned up every single tube, bracket, pipe, holder and cabinet involved in these jobs. We certainly wouldn't be where we are without her behind the scenes efforts!

 There were sections everywhere......And the size masses up pretty quickly!
 The brackets that hold the copper support arms were all cut. Actually, they were cut twice. The first run was from pvc, but was too flexible under the weight of the tube sections on it. So I beefed up the size, and cut them from 1/4" high impact styrene. The second set were waaaay better for the task.

All of the support arms to hold the tube slide were made from 1/2" copper pipe. Readily available, and easy to cut on the table saw. plus, getting it in 12 foot lengths was pretty handy!
I needed 2 holes, perfectly aligned, to mate to the brackets to the main support tubes. These will eventually hold up the whole slide.

 After humming and hawing about the best/ fastest way, I milled out some 3/4" plywood for a jig that would hold 5 pipes at a time. This clearly was the best/ fastest way to handle the job.

We made the main support poles from 2" abs pipe, The larger bases were cut from 4" pvc pipe, and filled with sand for weight. I can already tell we'll be adding at least a 9" mdf disk to the bottom to increase the footprint of the poles.
This is one of the final sections with all the supports and saddles installed. It's going to be a bit of a paint to paint, but it certainly looks industrial!

The first tube spiral was a huge pain to get assembled. Clearly there were compounded errors between the perfect computer world, and the final pieces Most of this, I would think, has to do with the vac-forming and gluing of the sections. And the amount of sections just adds to the problem. Basically, the full overlapping spirals pulled in around a 1/4" overall. So there was a huge amount of time spent comparing the cad file to the actual part, then figuring out where the corrections had to be made. Once John and I solved it, it was full steam ahead!

Kinda ugly in the photo's, but it's way too cool in person! The clear is funny, it photographs terrible, but looks great when your standing in front of it.

And just for something to do, we rolled a styrofoam ball down the top half! John suggested a donut, but that might make it hard to paint after!

On a side note...........
We finished the rest of the cabinet work, and that got picked up last night at around 6 pm. We just have 2 touchscreen tables to finish for that job, but we'll tackle that when we return.