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.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Finally, a miniature build again!!!

What can I say! I love miniatures. The only thing better than miniatures, is CARTOON miniatures!
And that's the current build!
We have to build a small toon-ish village for a tv spot. This makes me VERY happy indeed!!!
We were supplied a lot of 3d assets, which I will be pulling from heavily. Non of this will be 3d printed. the scale makes this a bit to big for printing, and I can machine almost any of this 100 times faster than 3d printing. I still think that 3d printing is a little over rated for a lot of what we do. It certainly has its place, but not for this gig!
This is the main building. This will scale out at approximately 13 inches wide. I decided the best way to tackle this for 3d machining is to split it out, both in Aspire, and Hexagon. I hid the text portion of the sign, as I will laser cut that from craft foam.
I know that the wall panels will be machined from 3/4" pvc, so I blocked out a cube, set back from the farthest point on the wall by 3/4". I don't care about the large sign depth at this point, because I'll just cut it off in Aspire. This method seems to be the fastest way from A to B.

The reason for the cube, is really just to give me a surface plane when I import the model into Aspire. The model will get sunk into the zero plane, right up to the pink face, then I'll discard everything below the zero plane, effectively just giving me what I need to machine. I will also be cutting the window trim, and bricks as separate pieces. Which is why I have hidden them, so they don't get exported with the building. This will make for a really clean model. And at 4k, that's what I want to deliver!

With the file brought into Aspire, and sunken to the correct depth, I sliced off the top molding, and hid it for use later.
At this point, I brought in the door and window trim, so I could vectorize them for both cutting them out, and laser cutting the trim later.
Cutting the raw wall panels was really quick. 40 minutes for all 3. I'm not mitering the corners, they'll be butt joints. But with some primer and sanding, they'll be golden.
The assembled walls came together perfectly.
A couple coats of filler primer, some sanding, and they looked great. I did use a spray texture on them in the end. This was done to match the other things we'll be fabricating, which will be stipple painted with a brush. This way they all look like they belong in the same environment.
Once the upper trim was machined, Jody set to work on the painting.
This is pretty much the final building structure. The upper molding will get attached to the base with a strip of aluminum tape. The tape is just to eliminate any light leaks when they eventually light the interior on set. We're doing frosted windows for this this from clear PETG, with a frosted vinyl decal.

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