Milling a Bust using our CNC Robot


Using 3D photogrammetry files to create a bust

Photogrammetry is the practise of using digital photography to capture images which then get used as data in a program, with the end result being a perfect 3D image. Most photogrammetryinvolves DSLR cameras taking pictures from multiple positions, before these images get stitched together by a program looking for shared features in the images. This then produces a 3D file, and can often be faster, more practical and more economical than laser scanning. We used the Veronica Scanner, built by Factum Arte,which was on display at locations around the country and allowed anyone to be scanned in around 4 seconds. There are systems being perfected that can capture a 3D imagein a fraction of this time; these are more commonly used for full body poses and capturing movement, while the system we used is perfect for busts and still images.

Side View of milled bust

Using the files captured by The Veronica Scanner, we then used 3D modelling programs to neaten and smooth out the files, before milling the bust from low-density model board using our CNC Robot. Similar to those used on a car assembly line, our Robot is a fully manoeuvrable programmable arm; ours includes a CNC attachment, allowing it to mill material in a wide range of shapes and positions, and can achieve amazing accuracy with a fine cutter.

The Robot has 7 axis of motion, allowing the bust to be machined from a fixed position. This meant a fast and relatively simple process,without having to move the sculpture around on the machine; moving the model while milling can cause unseemly join lines in the finished product.

After roughing out the shape using a ball-nose cutter, we then used a finer tool to add depth and detail to the bust. Even before the final detail is applied, the level of detail captured by the Veronica Scanner and milled by the Robot is simply stunning. Watch the video to see more!

JH May team at work

Once milled,we can coat and paint the bust in a variety of materials, giving the appearance of stone, marble, metal or plastic as well as a wide variety of other materials and patterns. The busts could also be used as moulds to replicate the shape repeatedly, or as a one-off bespoke sculpture. If you’re looking for a custom sculpture for your advertising campaign, shop display, or for an ornate garden display, call us on 01277 365500 or email [email protected] to find out more.

For more information on The Veronica Scanner, click here.