Operation Andromeda

Six photos of the different stages of a 3D printed sculpture by Blake Ward

Operation Andromeda completed stage one in February 2017 after almost a year of bouncing off the bottom of the learning curve.
We finally completed our first 3D print, cast in bronze.

Above is a picture depicting the 3 stages of the process.

Of course, there are many more parts to this puzzle,

These photos show the sculpture in three phases, from the digital creation through to the resulting bronze.

First we have the 3D digital file.

This was one of the more challenging phases of Operation Andromeda, as it meant that I had to learn a 3D computer program that would allow me to manipulate the digital file.

I was consumed, lost in the wild world of polygons for months on end.

The actual sculpture began by creating the wax, which Boky and I did together, and having it cast it in bronze.

From there we took it to London to Kev, the brilliant scanner guy.

He did his magic, returning the bronze and an amazing scan from which I could begin the digital phase of the operation.

Kev has been an important part of this whole process, as not only did he provide me with a high resolution scan but he has been my fall back guy.

You know, that person upon whom you rely on for help when you really get stuck and no matter how many instructional videos you watch, you just couldn’t figure it out.

That is when I would call Kev, and sure enough he would simply say, “No problem, I will sort that out for you” or “Hey I’ll send you a video that will help”, and he did. Thanks Kev…

After that I was able to manipulate the digital file and create an interior structure within the figure using this amazing 3D computer program called Zbrush.

This sculpture could not have been created by hand and then cast, because you can not make a mold of it in order to cast a bronze, and you could not build this inner structure inside the piece in wax, because you can’t get in there to put the structure in place.

Without 3D printing technology this sculpture could not be made.

I think that is the coolest thing about this whole process.

Of course, once I had changed the digital scan I had to send it back to Kev to repair… You see how important your fall back guy is? Thanks again Kev!

The final phase; getting the repaired 3D digital file printed, was the next challenge facing Operation Andromeda.

I needed help me with this part of the project, and luckily my foundry in Bologna came to the rescue.

Let me introduce my “fall back team of wonderful ladies”; Giovanna and Roberta, they developed the relationship with the printer and we were off to the races.

So after trying a few printers and coming up with an acceptable SLS print, the digital .STL file was printed at 35 cm in height in nylon and was successfully cast in Bologna at Venturi Arte.

Indeed, the eagle has landed!

It has taken about 18 months for all of the elements of the operation to come together.

Now for the finishing and patina… and then we need to figure out edition numbers and sizes…


Photo Title:Operation Andromeda. A photo of the process of creating a 3D Printed bronze cast. Blake Ward Blake Sculpture