3D printing helps to return a silverback gorilla back to life

How the lifelike image of a gorilla is created using high-tech. There are several cases where modelers, designers, artists and restorers come to certain limits when creating a piece of work.

Particularly when it comes to the creation of bigger, complex and detailed pieces of art. Traditional methods are proving not only to be more time intensive, but often times also very cost intensive. Through a combination of new Binder Jetting 3D printing technology and traditional artwork, designers have the possibility “to create efficiencies and help artists render their concepts, from start to finish”, says Rop Arps.

Rop Arps is the founder and CEO of Form 3D Foundry, a full-service sculpting studio and 3D workshop, offering scanning, sculpting, and 3D printing technologies for the creative industry. One of the collaborating projects of Form 3D Foundry was to immortalize a silverback gorilla named Ivan, by creating a memorial statue of him. The casting pieces for the statue were printed on a VX1000 3D printer. The chronicle of Ivan the gorilla is a story that has involved many people in so many ways to ensure he had a trouble-free life.

First step: hundreds of images for a 3D model

The first challenge in the process of creating the statue was to generate a 3D digital model of Ivan. Since gorillas have very unique and distinct looks, just like humans, hundreds of pictures had to be gathered to capture every detail of him. The artist decided to use an iconic image of Ivan holding a flower captured by the media for his inspiration.

A life-size statue: The printing process

Creating the digital file of Ivan took three years, this was to ensure every single feature of the gorilla was captured. Due to the size of the sculpture, the digital file of Ivan was separated into several individual pieces which were then printed in PMMA poweder on voxeljet´s VX1000 3D printer. Once all the parts were dipped in wax, they were used to produce a ceramic shell for investment casting.

Ivan the Gorilla sculptor uses new 3D printing technology

Port Orchard sculptor Douglas Granum is working with the Form 3-D Foundry in Portland to create a larger-than-life bronze statue of Ivan the Gorilla.

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