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, 10 September 2014

Printing all the moneys...

The nice thing with using Aspire with 3d printing is it will triangulate and output a clean, watertight mesh, and 3d printers love a watertight mesh!
The surface deviation from the original model to stl format is very accurate!

The coins printed very well, and the support structure under the coin were a breeze to snap off and clean up. I much prefer the SLA 3d prints versus the FDM extruded type of 3d printing. Less cleanup, and better resolution!

We painted the coins out with several thin coats of gloss black, and when the time was right, we buffed silver powder onto them, making them read brighter than paint alone could achieve! Unfortunately, we couldn't leave them that polished looking, we needed to weather them considerably due to the "supposed" age of them. So all the coins got a glaze coat of a dirty brown, then wiped off to reveal the tarnished silver underneath.
In the end, they looked great! I have no idea what film this is for, but I'll be studying every new Wallace Shawn film closely!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A License to Print Money! Mu-HA HA......

Well, we don't actually have a license, but we're printing money anyway! Try and stop us Canadian Mint, in your face!
A little over the top for Tuesday, but that's how I roll.
We got a call to create 4 old silver coins with the actor Wallace Shawn's face on them.
These are just single sided, only heads.
The art department supplied us with this image they wanted on the coin, as well as some really old coin reference images.
The first step was to crop out the background noise, so I'd have a clean reference image. I thought about modelling the head in full 3d, but as the coin was only 1.5" in diameter, that seemed like a waste of time for this
The model was solely created in Aspire, and underwent a few changes before agreeing on this version. I did some sculpting in Aspire to add a bit more dimension than Aspire had originally created it with. We are 3d printing these on the Form1 sla 3d printer, due to it's seriously high resolution, and the models small size! Due to the size, I actually had to over-emphasize the features a little to be sure they would read on a close up shot. We actually printed 3 of the coins, but production decided they wanted to add a hint of shoulders to Mr. Shawn's head profile.
 So with a little bit of tweaking, this would be the hero coin!
What a great time we live in to be able to have so many ways of fabrication at all of our fingertips!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Killer Colour!

 When it came time to paint our 2 Agent Chevaliers, there was some time spent on the order of things. Most people would think "just paint it" but there certainly has to be a thought out order. Especially because we're using a mix of automotive and acrylic paints. And we don't want to have to keep cutting in, over and over again. So armed with some sort of plan, the agents orange jump suit stripe was the first thing up. We used an automotive laquer for the stripe. This is a VERY durable paint, that dries quick, and we can mask over without fear of it pulling off with the tape.

Once the stripe had dried, we masked it off, and sprayed out the head in a flesh coloured acrylic latex.

The hair and glasses were all painted by brush, as taping a mask to the fresh latex would be far to risky.

The jumpsuit was the very last portion to get sprayed up. This was also done with an acrylic latex colour matched to the requested pantone number. The hairline also went through a couple of further revisions, but it was fairly simple to change.

The raised seam detail on the jumpsuit was the final paint portion to tackle.
With all the colour applied, the final step was 3 coats of an automotive clear coat. We used a satin clear coat, as I can't stand when sculptures like this suffer from "Gloss" :)

I love the surface sheen, and am so glad we went this route!

The very last steps were to use our Aves epoxy putty to attach the hand and gun assembly onto the ends of the arms, and cut the white vinyl graphics for the glasses and the spy wrist watch. No part of me had plans to paint the white on. Cutting vinyl gave a very hard and graphic edge, 100% opacity, and resulted in no brushmarks!

Then it was a matter of slipping them into their custom shipping crates, strapping them down, and sending them off to California to their new home in the sunshine!
This was a killer amazing project to get to work on, the clients were sooooooo easy to work with, and were very responsive to any questions we had, making the build timeline tick along without interuption!
I'd love to do way more of these kinds of projects!