Bronze sculpture of Father Moreau by Robert Graham
I was drawn to this sculpture because I had heard about the innovative casting process that was used to retain the detail and accuracy of the figure. Robert Graham used a 3D printer to build the mold for this sculpture using selective laser sintering, a process that produces tough and durable molds for investment casting.
Notre Dame commissioned Robert Graham to create this sculpture of Father Moreau in 2006 for his upcoming beatification. The sculpture was completed in 2007 and became the largest 3D printed cast bronze sculpture, which shows the desire Notre Dame has to push the boundaries of science and art.
Graham wanted to remain as accurate to his original sketch as possible, so he used a process of 3D laser scanning and data collection to process the data that was used in the printing process. He then contracted a digital printing company called Scansite 3D to use a combined method of additive fabrication and direct digital manufacturing to build the cast mold. After the mold was created, it was delivered to a foundry where the bronze was poured. The foundry took the cast mold and coated it in a slurry of ceramic to create a shell. Once the shell was cured, molten bronze is poured into the shell completing the casting process.
It is remarkable that we have this sculpture on our campus as it stands for creative innovation that the Catholic church produces. I hope to one day use a 3D printer to create a cast mold and see the process behind a wonderful collaboration of mediums.