FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
3D scanning 3D printing, artwork and synchronicity.
As sculptor Bridgette Mongeon was on her educational journey of recreating “Lifting the Veil of Ignorance” for Booker T. Washington High School, she has also been on another journey for another “out of this world project” that would use the same processes. Kindness Without Limits commissioned her to create a sculpture of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. She will create one sculpture, but she will make two casts from the mold. If you read the post that showed the sculpture casting process of the Grambling tiger, you will see that there are many steps in the casting process. If you go directly from 3D printing to investment casting, what is lost is the opportunity to make multiples. Usually, an artist will make a limited edition of a sculpture. They have a mold, and they can cast more from that mold. But, if you go directly from the art in the computer to 3D printing in investment casting, there is no mold. Each time another sculpture would be made, the sculptor would have to order another 3D print. Creating a bronze from a 3D print is usually not advised in a sculpture where the artist will make multiples, as it would not be cost-effective. However, you could have the 3D print made and make a mold of that 3D print.
In the cast of Neil Armstrong, one in the edition would go to Space Center Houston, and the second in the edition is going to Russia. Reference material for creating a sculpture is so important. In the case of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, it did not take the artist very long to realize that there are many different space suits with many details. It would be very easy to put Neil Armstrong in the wrong spacesuit accidentally. In comes 3D technology- in2015 there was a Kickstarter campaign to 3D scan Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. The Smithsonian did these 3d scans because No one created the spacesuit to go to the moon, come back, and last 50 years. It was deteriorating. If a 3D scan is made, the suit can be documented and that digital data is preserved, even if the spacesuit continues to deteriorate.
Many museums are doing this now. You can even get 3D models of things to 3D print or examine online. The artist is desperate to get that digital data, but you can imagine. It is under lock and key. Who owns the copyright? We learned a little about copyright and artwork. Copyright concerning 3D files is another thing entirely. How can the artist get permission to use these 3D files? This is still something with which she is working. However, the 3D data of the suit was taken and 3D printed at life-size using the technology mentioned in the previous posts. The spacesuits will be on display at different ball fields throughout the United States. Houston is supposed to get one. At the very least, having access to this spacesuit display will be an incredible resource for Bridgette to be able to sculpt the correct suit with the exact details. There is synchronicity in how things work. You work on one project, and the information you learn can be used on another project. Who would ever have thought that Booker T. Washington and Neil Armstrong would have something in common?
To watch how this was done check out this video
- Here is a a link to see Neil Armstrongs Suit in 3D.
- If you are interested in other 3D models with the subject of space check out NASA’s free list of STL files for printing STL files are the file format needed for 3D Printing.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon