A local restaurant that is opening soon approached us about producing a bronze pig – or rather a foam bronze pig. We gladly took the opportunity to do what we do best.
Our client had a small model of the pig they wanted to base the sculpture off of. So we 3D scanned the model, and manipulated the 3D file to be a little “fatter” and made a few more changes to make it unique.
Here is a picture of the model (foreground in black at about 6″ -snout to tail.)
and the foam pig after sculpting (background at about 36″ snout to tail.)
We then set to work on the machining, finish sculpting and hardcoating. After hardcoat we did a little more clean up on the sculpture preparing it for the bronze finishing. We had done other metal finishes before, but this was our first time emulating bronze.
We used an epoxy bronze composite for the coating. This gives us the ability to actually polish the bronze just as you would a real bronze casting. The finished piece will patina in the weather, just like true bronze does. So over time, this pig is really going to look spectacular. It should last for a decade or so before the surface will need some cleanup treatments. We look forward to keeping track of the patina as it occurs over time. A coat of wax that we applied to the pig gave it a bit of shine and will probably slow the patina process somewhat, but it will help it to occur more naturally.
The base for the pig was designed by a very dear friend, and local sign specialist – Pete Lang of Skyline Signs. Pete knows about all there is to know about signs, and how to mount them to a building. He also knows more about lighting a subject than anyone I know. He designed the base to the clients specifications and we were fortunate enough to be able to collaborate on the project. The client asked for the final finish of the base to be a rusted steel look. To save weight, with the discrete base the client asked for, Pete designed the to be built from aluminum. Then we were able to put a steel coating on it and patina (rust) the material to the level the client asked for. This is a rusted coating, separated from the aluminum itself by several blocking coats of anti corrosion primers. This gives us confidence that the patina process did not structurally alter the mechanism itself that supports the sculpture. It also gave us control of how much rust we wanted to see. When we reached the desired point, we stopped and allowed it to cure fully before coating it with a matte clearcoat. it is now locked at this patina and will no rust no further.