Design of the Week: Rzhev Memorial

By on September 28th, 2020 in Design

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Design of the Week: Rzhev Memorial
The huge Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier [Source: Thor3D]

This week’s selection is the Rzhev Memorial 3D scan by Thor3D.

This project isn’t a 3D print per se, but it does involve quite a bit of 3D technology. The subject is the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier, an enormous outdoor sculpture, located about 200km west of Moscow near the site of the Battles of Rzhev. The memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in those battles.

The sculpture’s design is incredible, with a soldier at the top holding a weapon, and the lower portion gradually transforms into flying birds. Because of this, the sculpture requires additional supports underneath.

Google Earth view of the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier [Source: Fabbaloo]

This sculpture is 25m tall (82ft) and is mounted on a small hill at the junction of two highways. As you can see in the Google Earth image above, the sculpture casts a long shadow. It’s big!

The Rzhev sculpture began as a more modest life-size version. However, there was an issue: the battle site was a bit swampy, and the soil conditions were not optimal for building such a large monument. The builders were concerned that heavy winds could affect the monument.

To verify that the sculpture could survive wind conditions a model would have to be tested in a wind tunnel. The sculptor called on the folks from Thor3D to produce a replica using 3D scanning tech.

3D scanning the original Rzhev Memorial sculpture [Source: Thor3D]

The scanning operators were able to capture a highly detailed 3D scan of the object, which was then cleaned up using ZBrush. This allowed them to 3D print a small version of the sculpture in the exact same shape as the original for wind tunnel testing.

3D model of the Rzhev Memorial [Source: Thor3D]

The testing revealed where wind would produce stress, and the engineers could then adjust the internal supporting structures. Finally, construction of the actual sculpture began.

Preparing an actual-size model of the Rzhev Memorial [Source: Thor3D]

The sculpture was not 3D printed, but was produced using normal sculpting techniques. Here you can see the gigantic size of this enormous sculpture in a workshop. Once these segments were completed, they were used to create over 600 segments that were individually cast in bronze. These were then assembled on-site using cranes to complete the sculpture.

The sculpture was completed at the end of March, and after a delay due to COVID-19, was official opened to the public on June 30, 2020.

The sculpture may not have been 3D printed, but it definitely won’t tip over in a strong wind.

Via Thor3D

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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