ScanningProbe scanning uses a probe to trace the contours of an object. The probe then moves on a fraction of a millimeter and records another contour. If the original sculpture was not cut into sections then the probe and the laser would not be able to scan around the wings. The areas where other bits of sculpture are in the way are termed "under-cuts".
SurfacingHere is an image of the data collected for the wings and also a rendered image of the part.
ManufactureComponents are scanned on 4 sides and then the final images are joined together. These will be used directly to programme "cutter-paths" for CNC (Computer Numerate Controlled) 3-axis milling machines. These machines are automated "drills" with coarse and fine heads that move 1) up/down, 2) back/forward, 3) left/right. Some machines require the scanned data to be turned into special surfaces before "cutter-paths" can be programmed. The material being used in the project is a dense fibre called Cibatool BM 5120 that is manufactured by Ciba Speciality Chemicals.
The wings were made by Intercraft Engineering Ltd.
Finished PartsThe final sections are about 140 x 50 x 20 centimetres.
Andrew Buffey and Russel Foster are seen here with both wings.