Geo Week News

January 16, 2013

Scanning used in 30m sculpture creation


SHEFFIELD, UK – Sheffield Hallam University released an article this week on the role its laser scanning experts are playing in the development of a proposed landmark sculpture for the city here.

The sculpture, which is proposed to be some 30m tall, is called the Man of Steel, and was originally created as a 30cm bronze figure by sculptor Steve Mehdi. It is designed, according to the article, “to pay tribute to South Yorkshire’s long history of steel and coal industries, while also reflecting the region’s 21st century strengths in advanced manufacturing and metals technology.”

To magnify the sculpture so that it could start to be seen as something of larger scale, it had to be turned into a computer model by researchers in the Geometric Modelling and Pattern Recognition Group at Sheffield Hallam. The team, led by Professor Marcos Rodrigues, used laser scanning technology to create a three-dimensional model, with roughly five million data points.

Then, John Halfpenny, manufacturing engineer at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing Composite Centre, converted this data into the toolpath instructions the computer-controlled machining centre needed to cut the model board to the precise shape.

You can see the finished creation in the photo at the top of the page, with Steve Mehdi (left) and business partner Paul Blackburn (Mehdi Sculptures Ltd).

The proposed 30m sculpture will overlook the M1 motorway, on a former landfill site a few miles north of the AMRC campus on the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The finished model they’ve made will be on show at the AMRC during the Global Manufacturing Festival in April, which commemorates the centenary of stainless steel’s discovery by Sheffield metallurgist Harry Brearley.

It will also be exhibited at the Magna Science Centre in Rotherham and Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. 

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