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How we made a 3D-printed copy of Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture for the European Parliament Museum

 

How we got this order

The officials of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture contacted Top 3D Shop with a lofty and ambitious request.

The museum representatives asked us to design a 3D printed copy of a sculptural composition – the prototype of the legendary monument Worker and Kolkhoz Woman which was created by prominent Soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina.

The world-known 24.5-meter steel monument was based on the original sculpture, which is currently situated in the museum.

It is a human-scale sculpture made of plaster. We needed to scan this piece of art and print its copy scaled to 33% of the original size.

The client was the Brussels House of European History that belongs to the European Parliament. This museum collects copies of artworks and monuments relating to European history. We contacted the assistant of the museum’s overseer, clarified the details, and got started.

 

How it used to be done

Without 3D-scanning and printing, it would be necessary to hire an experienced sculptor to create a copy inside the museum in direct contact with the original, which is very difficult to accomplish due to various administrative and organizational factors. 

Such an approach has several obvious weaknesses, including a long period of work, high price, inaccurate reproduction of proportions and forms. Generally, this is called the human factor.  

 

How we did it

Scanning

We conducted a detailed photogrammetric mapping of the object. It is essentially scanning through a series of photos with a subsequent combination of received images in a single 3-dimensional digital object. The process of photogrammetric mapping looks like this:  

Photogrammetric mapping can also be done by using multiple cameras simultaneously:

In this case, one employee with a professional camera was enough to accomplish the task. We decided to scan using photogrammetric mapping technology because it has several advantages such as:

  • No need to cover the scanned object with matting spray (it is something that you usually have to do when working with an original masterpiece of art),

  • High accuracy of details and precise reproduction of shapes. 

There could be some problems with illumination, but the museum staff kindly moved the sculpture to a well-lit room where we took 400 photographs, which were later combined into a 3D model on a computer.

The scanning lasted four hours, while the subsequent processing of the digital model, stitching, and removal of artifacts took 24 hours.

 

Printing

We used polyamide PA 2200 for printing on EOS Formiga 3D printer.

It’s a professional 3D printer that features the technology of selective laser sintering (SLS) and is capable of creating objects with dimensions up to 200 х 250 х 330 mm with layer thickness of at least 60 microns and printing speed up to 20 mm/h. 

We chose EOS Formiga because it offers a phenomenal level of accuracy and very high printing speed, while polyamide PA 2200 was chosen due to its resemblance to the surface of the original sculpture. 

The printer applies polymeric powder layer-by-layer, while the laser melts the powder into a rigid structure.

For even higher accuracy of the shape reproduction, we decided that the model should be composite – the platform, models of the Worker and the Kolkhoz Woman, the hammer and sickle should be printed separately.  

After the printing was done, all the parts were put together and glued with epoxy resin.

Then we polished the newly printed sculpture.

 

Painting

Especially for this job, we hired a professional restoration artist who painted the model so that the polyamide copy wouldn’t just look exactly like the plaster cast original but also like a freshly produced sculpture. The original geometry of all details was preserved. 

 

Packaging

After painting, the object was carefully packaged to ensure that it reaches the client in one piece.

Orders of such difficulty that include scanning, digital model processing, printing, assembly and painting, generally take approximately one month to accomplish. We can’t reveal the final cost of this particular order because it’s sensitive information.

 

Benefit

At Top 3D Shop, you can order a precise replica of any sculpture provided it is available for scanning or already exists in a digital form. Use these 3D-printed sculptures to showcase at a museum or gallery exhibitions, to decorate your apartment, a restaurant, a country home or an office. 3D printing technology can also benefit sculptors who prefer working with a digital model instead of sculpting manually.

Give us a call and order 3D scanning and 3D printing of any objects at Top 3D Shop.

 

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