Delcam’s ArtCAM cuts ice carviang projects to a fraction of the time
"Delcam’s ArtCAM Pro software helps us deliver a more consistent product in a fraction of the time required in the past,” claims Sam Bayley, Production and Plant Manager at Iceculture Inc.
Iceculture, which is based in Hensall, Ontario, was founded by Julian Bayley and his late wife Ann in 1989, and has grown into one of the world’s largest ice-carving companies with a staff of 50. The company’s success has been based largely on technical innovation. For example, Mr. Bayley worked with a colleague in the ice business and a router manufacturer in Calgary to develop a CNC router for cutting ice in the late 1990s. He also designed his own ice lathe, which shapes blocks of ice into spheres and cylindrical objects such as footballs, pillars, wine bottles and vases.
The combination of ArtCAM Pro and CNC ice routers has enabled designers at Iceculture to implement more efficient methods that also produce more accurate and higher-quality finished products. "We started working with ArtCAM when our business was very young,” Sam Bayley remembered. "One of the first benefits we saw was the software’s ability to help us replicate corporate logos quickly and accurately.”
Among the company’s many high-profile projects, one of the biggest involves providing 3D ice sculptures, ice furniture, ice lounges and other items for the Toronto Film Festival. In most years, a major event is based around the winner of the film festival and Iceculture is often asked to provide one or more ice sculptures for the event. For example, a film about ice hockey recently won the top award and Iceculture produced a 20-foot-long and 9-foot-wide hockey rink made entirely of ice as a focal point at the celebration. The rink included logos of the corporate sponsors, holes and hatches for shot glasses, table space for served food and many other features.
At another film festival, one sponsor was a large soft-drink manufacturer so Iceculture was commissioned to build an ice sculpture about eight feet high that replicated its famous bottle. Producing a sculpture of this complexity using manual methods would have taken a long time and it would have only been possible to produce an approximate likeness of the bottle. Iceculture designers imported a 3D model of the bottle into ArtCAM. They simplified the model, divided it into blocks of ice and then generated toolpaths to cut each block with an ice router.
For another project, Matt White, CNC Programmer for Iceculture, designed a 3D ice carving of a swan. He divided the various sections of the model such as the head, wings, body and neck into a total of 50 different features. "Once I have created a feature, I can easily do different things with it such as copying, resizing, moving, etc,” Mr. White commented. Then, he used ArtCAM’s sculpting tools to blend the different shapes together. He saved time by first creating the right half of the swan and producing a mirror image to complete the design.
"ArtCAM provides an excellent tool to design beautiful objects and produce them on ice routers in a fraction of the time that is required using manual methods,” Sam Bayley concluded.