After the maquettes have been scanned, and the work on the mesh data completed, we generate the G-Code and program the CNC router machine for cutting the life size nativity armatures. The nativity armatures are cut using EPS foam. The cutting of the armatures produces a life size puzzle of foam parts which we assemble. It is important to keep all of work working parts together as the foam puzzle can become quite convoluted.
Making Armatures with the CNC Router
After the foam parts are assembled, you have a working armature. The armature is then fine tuned to receive the sculpting clay. There are areas which need to be trimmed or cut back, or there may be design changes which need to take place. At this stage, it is much easier to cut away at the foam, than when the clay is on the statue. Even though you go to great lengths to ensure the statues are how you want them in the maquette and digital stages, inevitably you want to change something. This occurred with the two wise men and donkey, where we did serious reconstructive surgery on the foam. It is difficult at the time, but pays off in the end as any problems with the armature cannot be concealed in the clay. The foam armatures are mounted on boards which will be the permanent base during the sculpting phase. It is important that the boards be large enough to accommodate the molding process. The video shows our CNC machine cutting out the armature for one of the nativity wise men.