Bronze 3D-printed Statue
Case Study: Life-size King and Queen of Kauai Bronze Statue for the Kaua`i Museum of Hawaii
Table of Contents
Faux Bronze 3D Statues + Technology
WhiteClouds was commissioned by the Kaua`i Museum of Hawaii to re-create a permanent bronze 3D statue of the last King and Queen of Kaua’i and Niihau. This life-size replica was made to honor King Ali‘i ‘Aimoku Kaumuali’i and Queen Deborah Kapule Kekaihaʻakūlou which stands outside the museum as if to welcome visitors to Kaua’i and to invite us to learn more about the rich Hawaiian history displayed in the museum. Seen by countless visitors to the island and the local community, this was a great honor and an important project for WhiteClouds to undertake. The 3D-printed faux bronze genuinely looks like a real bronze casting but a fraction of the cost, time and weight.
The Kaua`i Museum officially opened to the public in 1960 and the museum has been listed as a state historic site since 1979. The museum works to accomplish its mission to preserve and sustain tradition, culture and beliefs through the ages through collaboration with the peoples of Hawaii. It is home to some of the most fascinating art and artifacts of the island’s history and Hawaiian civilization.
Our expert 3D designers first created a digital 3D Model using state-of-the-art 3D Software based off of 2D paintings, an old clay model, and other references for historical accuracy. Once the 3D digital file was approved by the Kaua`i Museum, a miniature maquette 12 inches tall was 3D printed and shipped for final approval before the real life-size sculpture was started.
Our fabricators chose 3D-printing technology to produce the foundation of the statue. Each piece (83 pieces in total) was 3D-printed in ultra-fine layers of plastic, then bonded together and assembled around an internal structure. Because the sculpture would be permanently displayed outside, it needed to withstand the sometimes harsh elements of tropical Hawaiian weather; wind, sun, and rain. As such, the team next applied a layer of fiberglass then prepared the statue for finishing.
Lastly, the statue was safely packed in a wooden crate that measured 64”x61”x96” and a whopping 480 lbs. It traveled by sea across the Pacific Ocean until it was delivered, unpacked, and installed by the Kaua`i Museum.
After the first model was built, we made a second identical model but coated it with our special Polyurea ULXL66 hardcoat to withstand the harsh wet, humid and hot climate of Hawaii. Rather than a perfectly smooth surface, it is slightly textured which seems to add to the faux bronze sculpture casting look.
3D-Printed Sculpture Facts
- The King is 6 feet 4 inches, and the Queen is 5 feet 9 inches. They stand side by side on a base that is 35 inches by 47 inches square.
- 3D printed in 83 separate parts
- Around 2,500 hours of print time
- Internal steel armature and steel base plating for strength and mounting
- 65 spools of filament were used to 3D print the statute
- Coated in Polyurea ULXT66 hardcoat.
- Airbrushed in bronze finish and clear coated satin finish