3D Digital Carving: New Tool for an Ancient Art

With help from the University of Buffalo, a leading manufacturer of architectural terra cotta is streamlining much of their intricate process through the integration of sophisticated digital fabrication tools. Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Orchard Park, NY, now has a five-axis digital router, which pares blocks of material into models of the statues, ornaments, and other objects the company is contracted to replicate - leaving only the sculptor's finishing work to complete the models. The tool is guided by 3D digital drawings generated from photographs of terra cotta objects. The image-creation process, called photogrammetry, simplifies the drafting stage of restoration. In this video, watch as a three-axis router at UB's Digital Fabrication Laboratory carves a foam replica of a tile.