This months case-study not only show-cases some beautiful woodwork but also has the added bonus of specific project how-to which includes the downloadable design files. We had the pleasure of meeting Warren Andrews-Smith, also known as Maplestiltskin at this years UK Vectric User Group Meeting. He brought some really nice display pieces and also showed us images of some of the other work he had made. We were suitably impressed by the projects and asked him if we could showcase some of his work in a case-study. Not only has he allowed us to do this but he has also given us a detailed insight into his illuminated Haunted House Project, even providing the files to download. The project is detailed in the second section of this story (see link below), first we asked Warren to tell us a bit about himself and how he got into using a CNC to help create his fantastic pieces...
As a youngster I was always making things, I can remember trying to make my own toys out of blocks of wood and nails when I could barely lift a hammer. The old expression ‘To a child with a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ was definitely true in my case. I soon realised that tools were the things I liked to play with rather than toys and I love working with and shaping wood and metal and plastic and just about anything I can lay my hands on - and so a lifelong trend began..
Although my career of making things began with toys and simple things it did not blossom into means of earning a living until much later. I did the university thing and spent 20 years in corporate life until the urge to create became too irresistible to ignore any longer. This was bolstered by the classic ‘How much! – I can make it for a lot less than that!’ type of discussion whenever I went into a furniture store – much to the chagrin of my wife.
I left my old life and began to make in earnest, focusing my energy into creating items that combine different techniques and materials in new ways. That is when I discovered CNC. First thing I did was buy a new computer and a CNC to attach to it. I thoroughly researched machines and software looking for the best ‘bang for buck’ until I finally found Exel CNC (based in the UK) and Vectric software (VCarve Pro in my case) and I haven’t looked back since. The enormous possibilities of what can be done with VCarve and a decent CNC literally kept me awake with excitement for weeks! I couldn’t wait to get started – so much so that when I first bought my software from Vectric, I had to use my wife’s credit card (long story!) and to this day my software is registered in her name (don’t tell the folks at Vectric though…).
I am an avid student of my craft, learning as much as I can about CNC and the software. I feel driven to make things that make people stop, look and touch. It always makes me smile when people can’t resist sneaking a quick fondle when that is exactly what I want them to do!
My inspiration has come from all sorts of different things – from natural things like deer grazing in a moonlit park to a tutu in the Victoria and Albert museum in London or even a piece of veneer at an exhibition. Once inspiration strikes, it just has to be channeled! – I often don’t sleep until it is done.
Nearly all my work in recent years has been commissions arising by ‘word of mouth’ and repeat business, with little time for anything else. I have done kitchens, cabinets, boxes of all sizes and shapes and lots of signs. I will tackle just about anything and the more complex and ‘impossible’ the better. More recently I am setting more time aside to get more creative, playing with light and texture and shapes. I am still excited about CNC and the recent upgrades to VCarve Pro have unleashed some more possibilities – I love the Vector Texture toolpaths and the last-pass allowance has been really welcome! Thanks Vectric but don’t stop there…
With a genuine love for trying new things and pushing creative boundaries, Warren is now combining other aesthetic elements with his CNC work to generate different types of products. Recently he has been working with light to augment his work and has created an atmospherically illuminated haunted house project that is sure to create the perfect setting for a ghost story or two. In the second section of the case-study Warren details how he made this and even provides the files to allow you to make one of your own for next year's Halloween!
To view the Haunted House project details and files please click here >>>>>
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