Bronze Geometry



The start of my adventures with CAD/CAM. In about 1997 ZCorp was the first 3D printing company to decide that models should be cheap, rough and expendable, as opposed to expensive, durable, and as nicely finished as possible. Their launch meant that prints were suddenly affordable to regular people without corporate sponsors. ZCorp was later bought by 3D Systems, but you can still get the prints they made popular at Shapeways: it's the Sandstone material. They also pioneered color printing, that's the Full Color Sandstone.

Most exciting to me was that they offered cornstarch-based prints, which could be used like wax in the lost-wax casting process. Most pieces here are bronzes made from these starch models, cast in the traditional way by Brown Casting in Rhode Island.

They were lush objects, but the process was costly and labor-intensive. There was a lot of hand chasing and polishing, and many lost castings where the burnout or the pour failed, or models simply broke in the mail, and it all meant that the sculptures had to be more expensive than the market would bear.

Direct metal printing is better for what I do, and I've never thought of going back. Still, these bronzes (and a few in oddball materials) marked the first time I could make things as I'd imagined them, so they're special to me.