Breaking free from traditional ice-sculpting methods, London-based ice specialist, Eskimo Ice have employed a pioneering, accurate and time-saving approach that allows them to accept increasing orders and concentrate on adding the final intricacies to their pieces by bringing Delcam's ArtCAM Pro into their studios.
ArtCAM Pro, the advanced CADCAM (Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing) software package in the ArtCAM range meets the preferred working methods of many a designer.
Clemente Gava, Chief designer at Eskimo Ice, always provided their sculptor with design prints for replication. With ArtCAM, however, the process can now be taken one step further. By importing the files directly into ArtCAM, he is able to modify design elements and calculate the necessary toolpaths to CNC machine the majority of ice using their router.
Clemente comments that, ''ArtCAM is extremely easy to use and comes with a range of helpful tools. ArtCAM's relief layers and tools, for example, make it really easy to create & modify my designs. If I need to change part of my design I can just click on the relevant 'Relief Layer' and change it without having to recreate the whole piece. ArtCAM also has what it calls a 'Project Tree' that allows me to keep all my 3D models together.''
He continues, ''ArtCAM's toolpath strategies and simulations are vital for us as they allow me to find the fastest and most efficient method of machining. Before machining I can simulate how the carving will look with my chosen tools and make any necessary changes which prevent wasting time 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 their coloured logo wasn't a problem for Eskimo Ice. ''Re-producing 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, eliminating any potential errors.
'In addition, as the logo needed to be built up of three separate colours we were able to machine the separate layers of ice and paint them with our pre-made dye. Once the dye had frozen all we had to do is set the layers together.''
Percy Salazar, their world leading ice-sculptor has worked with ice for a number of years, to create life-sized cars, elephant luges and 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, Percy used to sculpt designs larger than the proposed size to allow for human error or splintered ice. (A practice particularly necessary for creating straight lines or curves, due to the level of accuracy required.) Severe breaks in the ice would cause hours of delay as he would have to start again from scratch.
Percy believes that ''ArtCAM's area clearance saves us hours. It can remove a large bulk of ice, almost halving the time I need to work on it. Without ArtCAM creating the 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 wheel would have been almost impossible.''
Eskimo Ice proprietor, Gavin Marks, believes that ''ArtCAM has made a significant impact on our business and there is still more potential in the software that we have yet to tap into.''
If you would like to find out more about the ArtCAM software range please go to: www.artcam.com or e-mail: artcam ( @ ) delcam dot com