Casting the larger than life size nativity statues starts with the assembly of the molds. The molds are carefully assembled so that the seams fit perfectly together. The molds are then bolted together, and all the supporting mold hardware is fixed and put in place on the molds. The molds are very heavy and awkward, so they are handled by forklifts. With help of the forklift, the molds are raised into position on the rotational casting machine. ArcStone Casting & Design has a number of rotational casting machines which accommodate various mold sizes and shapes. They have been custom manufactured to the specifications of the casting process for ArcStone. The video below shows the Big Nativity standing shepherd mold on the machine. Notice how the mold is rotated in every direction in order to achieve a perfect coating of the bonded marble material inside the mold.
The Casting Process of Life Size Nativity Statues
After the casting process has completed, the molds are removed from the machine using the forklift. The molds are then handled very carefully during the de-molding process. The armature of the mold and bolts are removed. The fiberglass mother mold is removed along with the silicone mold. This reveals the bonded marble statue. The statue is then ready for chasing of the seams, cleanup, and detail. The final finish is applied to the statue whether that is a patina, paint, clear coat, or polish, depending on the needs of the customer.