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, 5 August 2015

The Computer Rocks!

As much as the computer makes things easy, it still requires some forethought, and software know-how to make it all come together!

The first step was to bring the 3d log model into Aspire for texturing.
I used my own woodgrain file I had created a while ago in Photoshop. I didn't want a realistic grain for this at all.
Bending and manipulating the shape of the grain to fit the log was pretty easy with Aspire's bitmap distortion tools. Mostly it was just a matter of flaring the ends to match the log shape!
Then with all the components arranged, I had to decide where I was going to split this out. The overall size of this job is 12 feet X 5 feet by 13 inches thick, so some thought had to go into getting it out of 4X8 sheets of material.

The sign got split into 4 quadrants, then each quadrant got sliced into the 2 inch slabs that our material came in.
In the end, there was 5, 2 inch sheets, and 1, 1 inch sheet of parts, that all looked pretty similar to the above image!

This was pretty much 2 solid days at the shop! Listening to the dust collector for 8 hours a day is enough to make me want to explode my brain ears. But finally all the parts have been cut!
Jody and I kinda worked side by side laminating all the panels up.

Jody also got started on the sculpted butterfly that's going on the one side of the sign. This was a simple structure made from 1/4" welded rod, and some galvanized metal lath. She used Apoxie sculpt- epoxy putty for doing the final shape of the insect.
Whatever I could laminate up off the machine, I would do right away, but with nesting all the pieces for the best yield, it pretty much meant I didn't have anything to assemble until the last sheet!
Slowly though, we made progress on the assembly. All the water drops got 3/8" steel rods inserted in them, to make them securely attach to the sign body.

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