I came across some of the most magnificent metal sculptures by Vladimir Bulatov. The metal sculptures are amazing, not only because they are visually mesmerising, but you’re mind immediately starts thinking about how you’d create such an intricate and interweaving sculpture from metal. Vladimir provides a brief description of the construction process as:
The process of making my sculptures starts from mathematical idea.
I build a computer model to represent this mathematical idea in 3D world. At this stage I have some very rough understanding of how the object will look. Next I apply custom algorithms to give the model nice body and organic look. I write all software I use for this process. At this stage I have detailed computer image of the future sculpture which I can rotate and manipulate in real time.
Next step is to play with computer model and to select parameters of the model to make sculpture look most interesting. The selected model is saved in special 3D file format as hundreds of thousands of tiny triangles representing surface of the object.
The file is transferred to state of the art metal printing machine, which assembles real piece from thin (0.002 inch) layers of stainless steel powder, heats fragile porous piece in the furnace and infiltrates with molten bronze to make it solid.
On the final stage I hand polish pieces and burnish them in tumbles with steel shot for a day or two in tumbler.
My first encounter with mathematic fuelled artwork was at university, when a textbook was covered with the now famous, Umbilic Torus NC by Helaman Ferguson. While the Umbilic Torus NC is also compelling, the detail, smooth lines and complexity of metal sculptures by Vladimir Bulatov is hard to beat.