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, 14 April 2016

The World, in miniature!

I looove miniatures! The best part is that they leave the shop when were done!
This build has us working on 3 separate environments. Some of the build portions in the shop, might not get covered very well, but I will show the finals in the studio.

The first build is a city landscape for the commercial. That means buildings, and a few at that.
4.5, 4x8 sheets of 1/4" styrene to be exact! These building are relatively low detail, as they can't overshadow the kids toy that their filming. They range in height from 8" to 48" tall. Our Techno cnc made short work of all the pieces. I cut all the 1/4" styrene with the single flute Amana cutter from Tools Today. I have been using this cutter for everything plastic, over the last year, and it's still kick n' ass!
This is about as complicated as the buildings get! They're only 3 sided though. Largely for budget reasons, but mostly cause they gotta stick a bunch of lights in them all.
I had the cnc cut the panels to size, then used our angle jig to router the mitre corners. Some tape as a mitre fold, flooded with methelyne, and BAM, a new building!

All said and done, it took about 3 days to cut, assemble, make windows, and eventually paint. Beat that Trump!
The windows were all numbered, so it would make sense after painting, as a lot of them were individuals. For the most part, I used .030" PETG sheets, with the standard peel and stick window frosting. After that, we used clear shipping tape to fasten them to the inside.
On the larger buildings, I used translucent coroplast. I really liked the corrugated lines from it!
Man, we got a lot to do..........

But while I'm doing that, If you haven't voted for my short film Endlewood, PLEASE head on over to the  My Road Reel website, and vote!!! I'm gearing up to shoot my 40 minute film, and winning this competition would change this next film for me! Just click on the title card below, and it'll whisk you on over there!


Thanks for stopping by, and THANKS for voting for us!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

LG G5!

Well, well, well..............Look who showed up! HA HA HA!

The start of the New Year was kind of a weird one at our shop. We had a few builds, but they ALL had NDA's. This obviously sucks for someone who wants to share the work they do! In fact, I still have an NDA on a Canadian series for 2 more years, even though the show no longer runs. Crazy!

The other stuff that kept me busy, work wise, was some prototype development, which of course, I am unable to share with you guys either.

However, we can now start to post about some things that we ARE able to show! WOO- HOO!

One such job was for some online media for the LG G5 phone.

This was the basic setup....

  (photo ripped from the web from http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/lg-introduces-canadian-pro-basketball-star-cory-joseph-as-official-ambassador-of-lg-g5-smartphone-574459661.html  

 We basically needed to build a rig to spin 2 basketballs, and time was pretty tight! Like 2 days tight!

I didn't even really have time to draw up the plans, I just kinda dove into it, developing as I went!
The rig needed to be basic to operate, as I wasn't going to be running it, and it sort of had to look good, because the joke was that the rig would be visible in the shot.

First up, I decided that the motors would be 2 corded power drills. The hopes was that the variable speed trigger could be used to vary the speed of the balls spinning.

I welded up a simple structure to hold the whole thing together. This was a piece of 2" steel tube. I went with 2" because the main cross bar that supports the whole thing is 2" tubing as well. This would become the horizontal mount that would get clamped to the the main crossbar. I then welded a vertical length of 1" tubing that will house the shaft that spins the ball. As a final step, I welded two 1/4" steel rods to be able to zip tie the power drills to.
Once the assembly was finished, I drew up a bunch of bearing blocks in Aspire, then cut them on the CNC. I cut them from rigid PVC, and made the opening tight enough that I had to hammer in the bearings.

The shaft that is going to eventually spin the balls was a length of 1/4-20 threaded rod. Something that is very plentiful at the shop!

I then machined up a concave plate that fit the basketball perfectly! This was done from 3/4" pvc foam. Strong and light enough for the job.

I punched a hole into the center of the basketball, and used a big fender washer, slipped through an additional slit in the ball.
I then assembled the craziness, with a crap-ton of silicone! In hopes to combat any air leakage,  as we might need to add air to the ball to retain it's shape. After the glue dried, one ball leaked, but held it's shape OK, so I'm good with it :)

I assembled the final assemblies, and mounted the drills to the top. This however is PRETTY not hot looking.......................
So I drew up a motor cover, and cut it from 1/4" black PVC Sintra. This solved the obvious problem of the drills being visible. Once that was done, I wrapped some brushed aluminum vinyl around the shaft tube, and the whole thing looked great!
 At the shop, the rig worked great! I let it run for over an hour, and everything was golden.
I delivered it off, and everyone loved it!

However, I got a call a while later that the studio tests were proving not as awesome as the shop.
Controlling the speed from the drill trigger, at over 8 feet high, was not going to work, and one of the rigs started to develop a nasty ball wobble. This intern started the stands vibrating, thus creating more wobble in both balls now........................Doh.

So before heading back to the studio, I had to come up with a plan. But now the rig was gone, and I was all alone, scared and cold. HMMMMMM.........
The bright side was that our client Tom, is noooo dummy by any stretch, and he diagnosed the wobble as coming from between the ball mounting plate, and the bearing. The 1/4-20" rod was starting to bend at that point.

I decided to machine an additional bearing plate that would clamp to the 1" tubing, and support 3 bearings, that would push down on the plate at the top of the ball.
I cut the plate from 2 pieces of 3/4" Lexan, so it would sit as square on the shaft as possible. This solved the wobble problem VERY effectively!
To solve the variable speed issue, I wired up a couple of 600W dimmers to outlets, and put them into separate junction boxes with 25 foot cords. This means the drills could be locked wide open, and the dimmers could vary the voltage running to them.

They loved it, and I no longer had wobbly balls.....................................

In fact The end clients liked it so much, they asked if we could run it at the LG G5 launch party in Toronto! Who cold say no to a launch party! It was going to get used as a photo op.

The party was great! It was held in the Old Fermenting Cellar in the Old Distillery District, a pretty happening district for sure! Jody and I both attended, cause me by myself spells social embarrassment! HA HA!

The rig ran great! The first 1.5 hours was a bit fidgety with the speeds, as they seemed to slowly creep up faster and faster. But, after the drills became SUPER warm, they seemed to level out, and didn't really need any tweaking for the rest of the night!

Canadian actor Michael Seater was there, that was pretty cool. Our daughter used to watch his show Life With Derek religiously when she was younger, so Jody spotted him right away! 

It was a great build, even with the new, last minute bearing plate we had to add!
And I don't often get to enjoy a pretty happening party after a build, so I loved it!

And as a side note, I have discussed before that I'm moving into shooting films, and writing scripts as a side passion for me.

So with that being said, I would love for you guys to head over to the My Rode Reel film contest I entered.
 I submitted our 3 minute short film Endlewood, and would REALLY be grateful if you could vote for it on their site!!

Please, please................ 
I'm going to hound you all until the deadline..........................

Thanks for coming back, and thanks for voting!!