Are you a special effects specialist who’s interested in creating sets? Are you wondering how you can create realistic illusions and trompe-l’œil? Whether you want to create film, TV, theatre, or circus sets, or decor for theme parks or museums, precise, quality machining will undoubtedly let you accomplish the task.Specifically tailored to artists, there are several cutting-edge procedures for creating lavish backdrops. Thanks to fast and efficient tools, artists can now spend more time thinking up and creating sets than on physically designing them. For example, 3D scanning and custom manufacturing technologies can completely enlarge, reduce, and reproduce pieces, works of art, or sculptures. It’s also possible to make moulds of all dimensions out of non-metallic materials.

The different moulding options

By demonstrating originality and ingenuity, the moulding technique allows for the creation of a wide range of scenic objects out of a multitude of materials. To name just a few of these, there are: polyurethane and elastomer resins, which are used to make figurines, statues, and artistic and architectural pieces; silicone and polyurethane moulds, used for reproductions; and polyurethane boards, used to create mock-ups and scale models.

CNC machining

CNC machining is a very efficient technique that, due to the absence of moulds, leads to reduced costs and timelines during the targeted production of a few identical pieces. CNC machining uses the latest computer numeric control techniques. Once the technical drawings have been completed (approved dimensions and materials), the programming software will then transfer the digital information to the machining centres. Machine shops generally contain a 3-axis cutting machine for various non-metallic materials (wood, polystyrene, Plexiglas, RenShape, MDF, Lexan, foam, plastics, etc.) and a 5-axis machine for 3D shapes. Almost all kinds of pieces and dimensions can be created using 3- and 5-axis machining centres.

Cutting centres usually include one or more milling machines, which are automated and controlled by computers. The computer program controls the movements of the tools on the mass to be machined and determines the rotational axis of the miller (milling) and of the workpiece (turning).

The features of 5-axis machining

5-axis machining offers many advantages, the main one being the efficient production of very complex pieces, which may sometimes be necessary for creating the perfect set decoration. As its name suggests, the cutter can move along the workpiece in 5 directions. It can therefore drill defined angles very precisely, which makes it possible to machine three-dimensional pieces. An innovative technology, it allows for swarf and multi-axial machining as well as extremely rigorous and defined profiling. In addition, it lets you save time and money due to the small number of mounting plates, and it can handle higher cutting volumes. By using shorter cutting outputs and lengths, it also offers greater milling speed and stability while minimizing vibration.

Since it’s a rather specialized technique, 5-axis CNC machining is a rare specialty for the custom production of particular sets. Very fast and precise, this technique is also the method of choice for creating all sorts of visual art or artistic pieces.