Delcam’s ArtCAM lets ice sculptors break free


The Eskimo Ice display created with ArtCAM for the Taste of London Food Festival

Bringing Delcam’s ArtCAM Pro into its studios has allowed London-based ice specialist, Eskimo Ice, to break free from traditional ice-sculpting methods.  The company has employed a pioneering, accurate and time-saving approach that allows it to accept increasing orders and concentrate on adding the final intricacies to its pieces by hand. 

Clemente Gava, Chief Designer at Eskimo Ice, always provided the sculptor with design prints for replication.  With ArtCAM, he is able to create design elements and calculate the necessary toolpaths to machine the majority of ice using a CNC router. 

"ArtCAM is extremely easy to use and comes with a range of helpful tools,” commented Mr. Gava.  "For example, using relief layers makes it really easy to modify my designs.  I can just click on the relevant layer and change it without having to recreate the whole piece.” 

"ArtCAM’s toolpath strategies and simulations are vital as they allow me to find the fastest and most efficient method of machining,” he continued.  "I can simulate how the carving will look and make any necessary changes.  This prevents time being wasted down in the ice-carving studio.”

When creating the ice sculpture to promote China’s oldest beer, Harbin, at the Taste of London Food Festival, incorporating the coloured logo wasn’t a problem for Eskimo Ice.  "Reproducing Chinese characters accurately by hand would be extremely difficult, but with ArtCAM all we had to do was set the toolpaths around the imported characters for them to be machined,” explained Mr. Gava.

Percy Salazar, the company’s world-leading ice-sculptor, has worked with ice for a number of years to create life-sized cars, elephants and even entire rooms built from ice.  As such, he is well accustomed to the difficulties of hand-carving such a volatile medium; spending hours chiselling away in below-freezing temperatures to create the basic shape before adding detail to the design. 

Due to the nature of ice and the pitfalls of hand-carving, he used to sculpt designs larger than the proposed size to allow for human error or splintered ice.  Any breaks in the ice would cause hours of delay as he would have to start again from scratch.  

"ArtCAM’s area clearance saves us hours,” Mr. Salazar claimed.  "It can remove the large bulk of the ice, almost halving the time that I need to work on it.  Without ArtCAM, creating St Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben for the Taste of London Food Festival would have proved a lot more time-consuming, whilst creating the spokes on the London Eye wheel would have been almost impossible.”