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, 8 July 2015

The Only Thing Better Than One Bust, Is Two!

An earlier project we were involved with was the fabrication of 2 busts. These were to be of the composer Bach.
And as per usual, we had about 4 days to do them in!
These are for an upcoming TV series, that I think is going to be pretty awesome! When we delivered them, I was blown away by the set work that was being constructed!
But that's as much as I can say about it, without getting in serious crap-ola!

Because of the short deadline, we had no choice but to search for available 3d models, which there was very little to choose from. Mostly scanned geometry, that was huge in file size, and not great in finish detail. In fact, most of the models were just texture mapped, with very little actual geometry!

But I did find a decent model bust of Bach, but hated it from the neck down, it was like the artist lost interest! So I also purchased a bust model of Beethoven, and Frankenstined both the models together.
I think the results came out pretty good!
The only issue with this sort of thing, is that you end up with a leaky mesh. I brought it into the free app Meshmixer, from Autodesk, and was able to fuse the head and torso into 1 watertight mesh.
If I didn't need to slice this model outside of Aspire, It wouldn't be an issue, as Aspire isn't really affected by non-watertight geometry.

 However STL Slicer is a little bit more picky, and a non watertight mesh can confuse it most of the time
However, I can't rave enough about STL slicer! It does it's job REALLY well! Although, I do have some suggestions for them, to improve it a bit, but it really has been a serious asset to us!
Once all the slices were aligned to the z-plane, I dropped them all into Aspire for machining.
I took the time to limit my toolpaths in the software, as opposed to wasting machining time on the output end.
Everything was roughed with a 1/2" ballnose, and finished off with a 1/4" ballnose. I didn't double side machine any of the parts for this, most of them didn't need it. And anything that did, was faster to carve out by hand!

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