Bronze 3D-Printed Mascot School Statue
Case study for a 13 foot tall custom faux bronze statue for Sherman High School.
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Faux Bronze 3D School Mascot Statue + Next-gen Technology
WhiteClouds was commissioned by CORE Construction to make this amazing mascot statue for their client Sherman High School in Texas and they recently installed and unveiled the 13 foot tall Bearcat display to start the 2023 year. The 3D-printed statue is 8’ tall and it stands on a 5’ wood base we also built, complete with spotlights and the school logo. Painted in a two-tone bronze color, it truly looks like it’s made from bronze metal.
Bronze statues have been around for thousands of years due to its rich coloring and the ability for artists to achieve fine details. While bronze and other metals remains a popular choice for sculpture, with modern technologies like 3D printing or EPS foam, hardcoat materials and metallic paints, we can achieve the same results at a fraction of the cost in production time, weight and cost.
How are Faux Bronze Statues Made
When WhiteClouds creates a custom statue, we can start with a 3D file, usually an STL file format, or simply a 2D illustration and pictures of what the customer wants. In the case of this school mascot statue, the customer did not have a digital file so we started with a 2D illustration that they supplied and our 3D designers created the model in Maya for the overall structure and size, then added details (like the fur) with Zbrush.
For most of our 3D statues, our production artisans choose 3D-printing technology to produce the foundation of the statue. With 3D-printing, we can quickly make adjustments in the software model until it’s perfect and after the digital file is created, the printers do all the work with 100% accuracy. A large sculpture is broken down digitally into smaller pieces which are 3D-printed in ultra-fine layers of plastic, then bonded together and assembled around an internal metal structure and filled with foam for support. Sometimes, one sculpture could have well over a hundred separate pieces. Our largest statue to date, standing at around 30 feet tall, took 365 individual pieces. This specific mascot was just over 80 separate pieces and took a whopping 1,400 total hours to print. 3D printing in pieces is more efficient because multiple printers can be used simultaneously in what we call a ‘farm’. We use up to 85 printers currently in our printing farm. Most cost-effective 3D printers on the market also have a relatively small print size.
Once the statue is ‘welded’ together using a special WhiteClouds process, our team works on each seam to make it smooth and ready for the hardcoat and paint. Each seam takes 1-3 hours of bodywork.
If the statue is to be permanently displayed outside under harsh weather conditions or it needs to be durable enough to withstand constant touching or moving, our team applies a special hardcoat called Polyurea ULXT66. Polyurea ULXT66 is a chemically-developed polymer coating stronger than most commonly used outdoor protective coatings. Due to the protective effect of Polyurea, the coating has a slightly bumpy texture (like an orange peel) that can be made rougher or smoother according to the desired finish. In the case of our bronze statues, this slight texture actually makes it look more like authentic metal.
Finally, the statue is airbrushed with a bronze or metallic paint satin finish then clear coated for extra protection. At the base, most large statues are welded to a steel plate with bolts according to your specifications so it can be installed on-site or we can create custom bases from wood, metal, lighting, etc. as we did in the Bearcat mascot statue for Sherman High School pictured below.
Lastly, the statue is safely packed in a wooden crate and shipped. We have safely shipped large statues and other projects overseas so the sky’s the limit until we have rockets and a colony on Mars. In the case of this statue, CORE construction did the installation at the school.
This will be an impressive permanent indoor installation for the school and was a huge hit at the unveiling ceremony. Thanks for trusting WhiteClouds with this important part of your school heritage!