During 3D Printshow 2013 we spent some time with Cosmo Wenman, the fellow who has captured 3D scans of numerous famous sculptures over the past year. But it's what he does with the scans afterwards that is so much more interesting.
Wenman 3D prints the sculptures on his aging yet still reliable MakerBot Replicator 1 in PLA plastic. He carefully segments the sculpture into printable sections to avoid overhangs and unsightly join lines. The printed pieces are glued together into truly sculpture-sized items.
Then the magic begins. Wenman has been developing techniques for painting the assembled sculpture to make them appear to be produced in classic bronze and other highly realistic finishes.
Wenman's new company, Alternate Reality Patinas, is still developing these metal infused acrylic paint paints, which can contain considerable amounts of metal. In some tests, the finish includes so much metal that you can actually polish the painted print to a shine.
The most interesting aspect is that no two applications of the finish are quite the same. By altering the application technique, you can achieve very different results as you can see in these images. Wenman says, "they are real patinas."
All of them, however, make dull plastic prints far different than they came out of the 3D printer. They look quite realistic.
Wenman expects his company to offer easy-to-use finishing kits in 2014. We can't wait to try it!