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.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Back from Alberta!

A lot has happened since my last post! I held off posting the final bits of the train float/ display, as we wanted it to be a surprise for the people in Alberta. But we have returned from the install, and are now back at the various thing we started before we went away.
The first order of business is to remind you all about the May 15th deadline for the Vector Pattern contest that Tools Today has going on!
Remember, this is $500 bucks in tools from them, pretty sweet! So give it a try, and enter!

Back on the train side of things....................

Once the building facades came of the Techno, Jody set to work cleaning all the 1/16" grooves. Instead of doing a true, ship-lapped siding, I just had the cnc profile along the evenly spaced vector lines, giving the appearance of ship-lapped siding.
While she tackled that portion, I set to work gluing any details to the building I could. Some stuff would be left off, to make painting easier, but anything that could get glued, did get glued!
Then when we were ready, we double sided taped every piece of the buildings back together, in their final positions. The reason for this, was that when we used the texture spray, which works as an amazing PVC primer, only the final outside portions would get sprayed. This leaves a pvc to pvc gluing surface, even after paint. Plus it makes it easy to tell exactly where every piece locates, given that it's paint free where a piece would sit on another piece.
With everything primed, we moved onto the final painting. The base of the columns on the Town Hall, in real life, are a cultured stone. So Jody made up a few different stone stamps, for painting the stone. We purposely went for a graphic look to most of the building, using simple contrast to make everything stand out from a distance, as most people will only get to view this from a small distance away.
Due to the multi layers of the facades, we did have to mask, and re-mask a lot, but we tried to keep the steps simple, only doing it where we had to!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Alphabet Soup!

The front of the heart gets the word "Stettler", Well actually, both sides get the name of the town on them. These letters will be 3/4" white pvc. This is so we don't have to paint them. The pvc is UV stable, and has the color running right through it. So small scratches or dings shouldn't be a problem for years to come.
Due to time issues, as well as current space issues, we had the truss welded up at Brewsters Welding a couple of doors down from us. He did a stellar job! Each frame actually splits in half, with guide pins, so each side can only get put together one way.
Jody got to work on painting it with a gloss red rust paint. I think her shirt was white when she started :) It's my hope that the red truss will blend very nicely into the red heart. As nice as the fabrication is, I don't want it to take centre stage!
While the paintwork was being done, our Techno cut out 2 sets of the  word "Stettler" I punched 2 holes through each letter, and countersunk a 5/16" Tee-nut. That should be plenty of power to hold these to the truss. I also milled a pocket on the back of each letter, slightly bigger than the bracket on the truss. This eliminates the text kerning, and height issues, that would arise from free-balling all the letters on the frame. They ended up locking the letters in place, easy peasy.

 Guess who is mysteriously missing from the above photo.........................?

That's how I roll!

Not a lot of structure is visible behind the letters, but what is visible looks pretty sweet, all shiny and new!

Once all the letters lined up to the holes in the truss, I cut a bunch of 1/8" thick disks, and glued them up as screw caps to cover my nuts.......................Oh no he di'int! (circle snap)

Once we were finished dealing with the giant letters, Jody moved on to painting the bridge.
She started with a red-oxide primer, as our bridge will be a steel bridge.
And then got a number of paint treatments, this being the first.
I find I'm walking a fine line for this. My artistic, movie prop side really wants to make the train, and the bridge VERY weathered and rusty, but I'm sure the Stettler board of trade would prefer to not show their town as a post apocalyptic, rusty nightmare! So clean looking is the order of the day, but I think the bridge is a very good meld of the 2!