Thursday, 3 March 2011

Alienated! Set construction

After planning the construction of our set, we decided that MDF would be the best material, for its properties of being durable, easy to sand/cut and having a smooth finish. As I am living at home, of the people in my group I was in the best position to go to purchase the materials we needed, so we agreed to divide the costs between us later. 

The local sawmills where I bought said wood offered a fantastic service to cut the (huge) boards into the correct sized pieces, having been provided with the dimensions of our set components, which I measured accurately prior to my visit. If you are living in or around Birmingham, I would highly recommend a visit to Great Barr Sawmills Ltd. if ever you need anything of this nature! The process resulted in the rather big pile of boards seen below:

Having been carefully arranged to ensure all the necessary pieces were present, I proceeded to piece together the set base, using 6mm spacers to achieve a consistent channel width for the walls to slot into.

Due to the fact that the channel had to be exact all the way round the central blocks, I decided it would be best to glue those central blocks in place and wait for those to dry, before working outwards from them to secure the other pieces. This process took several rounds of a roughly 10 hour drying time.

The pieces needed to be clamped in place so that the glue dried properly and the pieces were secure. Once dry, I placed the walls into the channels for the first time and was very pleased that the set fitted together perfectly.

One thing remained: The holes for the doors and windows (both of which I agreed to make) needed to be cut in the front panel. As with all the props and objects in our animation, the doors were measured against our character model sheet to ensure they would be to scale. Having decided that the doors should be 21cm high by 7.5cm wide, I proceeded to construct the lines on the face of the panel to be cut accurately. I should mention that the windows and doors needed to be cut without breaking into any surrounding material, which proved a challenge. The technique we used was to drill holes close to the corners, and then saw between these holes to remove the bulk of the wood. The rest was then cut/filed/sanded away to match the constructed lines. 

You will notice that the gardens have already been made in the image above- the creation of this piece of scenery, as well as other props and assets, will be fully documented shortly.

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