Bronze 3D Printing
3D Printing Bronze Casting
3D printing bronze casting is a modern method of creating art. 3D printing allows for almost any idea to be enlarged or made smaller and printed. This saves time, especially if an artist has an idea of what they want to create and want it done efficiently.
After a piece is printed, it still needs to go through the entire artistic process of casting it in bronze.
Chad Caswell is the owner of Firebird 3D, which is a partner of Firebird Bronze. Firebird 3D services include scanning of 3D forms, printing in high-end 3D, CNC milling, which can be scaled to monument sizes, and traditional sculpting services.
The term CNC milling stands for ‘computer numerical control’ milling. It uses computerized controls and rotating cutting tools to take away material from a workpiece. This is an effective way to create custom designed pieces, precision parts and prototypes.
3D Foam Sculptures
Using the CNC milling method, Firebird 3D can create 3D foam sculptures. The machine has a 5ft by 10 ft bed, which allows large scale monument projects to be milled.
The foam used at Firebird 3D is blue extruded polystyrene foam. It can be open cell or closed.
Open cell foam has cells that are purposely left open, making it softer and much more flexible. Closed cell foam is exactly that, closed. It prevents air and moisture to get inside and is much sturdier, harder and more stable.
After a piece is perfected and ready, it goes through the bronze casting process at Firebird Bronze.
Using the ‘lost wax’ method, the details of a piece are preserved, and the result is a beautiful piece of art that will last for ages.
One of a kind artwork can definitely be cast from 3D printed or milled material which can be effective and even less costly.
After the foam sculpture or clay figure has been perfected, it needs to be cut into smaller pieces that will be individually cast. The amount of pieces always depends on the size of the actual monument or sculpture.
A two-hemisphere mold is then created for each piece, made from silicon rubber. This rubber captures the sculpture’s most intricate details, even the artist’s fingerprints. This mold is then placed into a ‘mother mold’ which helps to keep the original mold in place without any kind of distortion.
The next step is the pouring of the hot wax into the mold, then creating a gating system. The gating system creates channels through which the bronze will travel when poured.
Next, the structure is dipped into ceramic substance to create ceramic shells. After they have dried, the molds go through the wax burnout phase, which is where the ‘lost wax’ term comes from.
Next comes the pouring of the bronze, then removing of the shells, reassembling the sculpture, sanding, polishing and applying the patina.