The art of engineering has now reached the stage where it can produce engineered art. A new Powermill CAM software program is being used in the film industry, together with a 5 axis router, by film set maker Golden Era Productions. They use it to replicate works of art for film set props. It enables complex works of sculpture like Rodin’s “The Thinker” and “The Kiss” to be recreated in all their glorious detail – with one difference of course.

Rodin may be turning in his Grave

Whereas Monsieur Rodin would have taken many months to have completed one of his stunning works of sculpture, the latest application of the art of engineering can do it in hours. It’s surely enough to be making him turn in his grave.

If it looks like Bronze…..

Of course we’re only talking about replicating existing pieces of sculpture, and in a different material. While Rodin used bronze or marble as his media, the modern composite materials that we use today for model making make the “sculpting, machining” operations of engineered art a much faster process. It’s also aided by the speed of the cutting tools and the clever programming. But by the time a newly replicated piece has been carefully finished, using the right spraying and lacquering processes, anybody would be doing very well to be able to spot any visual difference.

Software in use is a British Product

Golden Era Productions (GEP) are an American company based in California, USA. The idea of utilizing Powermill CAM software has revolutionized GEP’s ability to create authentic looking artistic props. They can do it faster and cheaper than ever before. The new software is a British development too. It is marketed by Delcam – a world leading CAM software specialist based here in the UK, in Birmingham.

What once took Months now only takes Hours

In the past, before the art of engineering became sophisticated enough to produce engineered art, the only way of producing something like a film prop of “The Thinker” for example, would have been by hand – either that, or by using a combination of several different machining and manual operations. This took a considerable amount of time, and therefore money. Modelling by hand still takes an enormous length of time, especially when it is a complex subject. Yes, it’s much faster when using today’s modern modelling substrates – but whereas someone like Rodin would have taken months, a skilled modern model maker would still need several weeks, certainly for a large, full sized replica. But with state of the art software (spot the pun) now available, it only takes a number of hours.

From 3D Modelling to 3D Works of Art

It was really only a matter of time before the full capabilities of the art of engineering became focused on making or replicating works of art. In engineering circles, the latest CAM software has already been used in the last 3 to 4 years to bring 3D modelling to the fore. But engineers focus on practical engineering, so 3D modelling became the way forward for fast prototyping of engineering components. But it’s essentially the same software – simply modified!

The Diversity of the Art of Engineering

Of course the initial outlay for someone like Golden Era Productions is expensive. More so than the cost of the first works of engineered art. But as soon as those upfront costs are recovered, (probably within the first 50 or so film set props), the savings all go straight to the bottom line. It’s a great example of the diversity of the art of engineering.

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