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 July 2015

It's Easy, Just Let The Computer Do It.....ya right...

Believe it or not, I don't actually have a set workflow that I follow EVERY time I set out to create something! I'm about as consistent as pure randomness can be :)

The sketch for the sign was done in a sketching program, but stuff like text, I always do in Corel first, then export it out as an image file. I figure, I'll need the vectors for the text anyway, so the beginning is just as good as anything to get them laid out. Plus, I do the vectors to actual size, so I can get a handle on the final, overall project size in the sketching software!

Then in the sketching software, every element gets drawn on a separate layer, so I can turn everything on or off, as I need.
With the text turned off, I can export a fairly clean image to bring into hexagon, this lets me see where all the leaves of the bushes belong, and they're overall shape, as the text block a lot of the leaves from view.

I started in 3d with the log, soccer ball, and the water splash, using the sketch as a basis for everything. I wont texture anything in Hexagon, as it's way more efficient to do in Aspire, when I move to that software. I did force the perspective on the log, so you could see the end better, just to give it a bit more awesomeness, and look like the original sketch.
 The leaves were next. I only modeled one, then used the modifiers in Hexagon, to bend, squash, and twist the original leaf into the rest of leaves for the bush. I did these one at a time, laying them on the sketch for size and placement.

Bouncing over to Aspire, I imported my already created vectors, and used the 'Create Shape' tool to build them up to their final 3d shape. Text is so super fast to create in 3d in Aspire, plus it's usable for machining, it doesn't make sense to create the text anywhere else.
 With everything modeled, and in place, I brought in the 3d text from Aspire, so I could do a final tweaking to the under/ overlap of the leaves on the text.

I planned from the start that this sign would actually have very little undercutting on the geometry. I'm totally OK with the final look that will give. Except for the water splash. I certainly don't want the splashing water to return right back to the sign. This will look pretty good from the side view!
So I split off all the water splashes from the trunk of the splash, as they'll get cut as separate pieces.
Once the drops were cut off, I split each one in half, and laid the flat side of each one on an imaginary zero plane. This way I can import them as a group into Aspire for machining.
I sense HDU dust in my very NEAR future!!

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