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.

Monday, 17 November 2014

It's fun to stay at the YMCA!

The wagon, lunchbox, and the easel got sprayed and finished up. I used two pieces of foil tape stuck back to back, and sprayed white, to make the paper on the easel. It doesn't look like they used it in the end, but the option was there anyways!
Jody set to work painting all the little people. I don't think she found it tedious, but I thought I heard some language not suitable for all ears, muttered quietly while she worked. But it could have just been the dog, not sure :)
It's a little funny on some projects, but there always is one part that constantly weighs on my mind during a build. It's that one part that haunts me until I figure out how the heck I'm going to make it.
Sometimes it can be a complicated assembly, other times it can be as simple as the order of masking for paint. But for me, there's always one. On this build it was the shovels. Simple when it's done, but not so apparent when we start.
It was the shape and scale thickness that was my curse! They were to thin to sculpt from Aves epoxy putty, which we used for all the sculpting portions on this.
I decided finally to laser cut the shovel blade from thin magazine cover paper, then wrap it onto a wire. Once I shaped the blade it to it's final form, I treated it with super glue to hold its shape, and hold it to the wire handle. Done! Haunting over!
 Jody did a great job painting the figures. You can't see it, but she painted lettuce and tomato on the right guys sandwich. Now that's dedication. I might keep her on after her 3 month probationary period.

The final piece was the long saw blade. That was laser cut from .02" PETG. Not great material to laser cut, but it fit the bill!

Jody did have to change a couple of characters on the day of the shoot, but it was a quick re-paint.
And as we didn't bring the dog, I didn't hear any cursive muttering......

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The little ones work the hardest!

Now that the NDA is over on this job, I think I'll work the build backwards! Starting with the final result! This job was through photographer Vicky Lam. A great commercial photographer, and an even more stellar person to work with! PLUS......she's only the second person I know shorter than Jody!
Vicky specializes in shooting miniatures, and when she contacted us for this job, we were totally on board!
This was another short deadline job. The go-ahead was on a Friday at 3pm, and it was due on the following Monday at 9 am.
Alas, this would have been the perfect job for our Hi-res DLP printer that we ordered, but ours won't arrive until the end of THIS month, so we had to rock it old school!

I hired a wonderful sculptor that I used to work with years ago, name Garfield. He came in to tackle the little people and their little details. The clients were very specific about what poses and swag the little people had on!
While Garfield set out to work on the little people,  I started on the very tiny construction wagon they wanted. This will be full of seed in the final image. I drew these up quickly in Aspire, and cut them from .060" styrene, then glued the flats up.
The other task for me was fabricating the miniature easel that holds the construction blueprints. This again was done from styrene, with evergreen stryrene strips for the legs and wagon handle. Due to time constraints on this job, we had to use 1:72 scale Prieser miniature people as the base forms, and repose them as necessary. A little heat on their appendages made posing them fairly straight forward. Although, Garfield did have to resort to Exacto knife surgery on a lot of their little arms and legs!

I love miniatures, and would really enjoy a constant staple of them! I never seem to get enough of it!

Monday, 10 November 2014

The legalities are over!

Because I had kept all the files on this job, I was able to create the new text portion of the sign in the exact spot where I needed it. This allowed me to punch through the texture of the original sign background, so the texture would be perfectly in sync with the old portion of the sign. Not being able to conceal the edge led me to putting a small raised border around the new inset piece. If you can't hide it, make it a feature!
Our Techno cut out the whole section in around 45 minutes with a 1/4" ball nose cutter. This included the text and border cleanup toolpaths.
The final piece fit in like it had been cut on a cnc router! :) A Techno cnc router that is!
I only used urethane glue in the 4 corners, just incase it goes through another name change............

The lighting at the time of install really hides the subtle brickwork texture, but as the day progresses, it really starts to pop. Although it's hard to see in the picture!
The install went amazingly fast. It actually took longer to get it out of the van!
It really is an eye catcher as you drive past it. It looks just as good at night under the lights on the posts as well!