Scanner helps create tribute to US forces

When a group of Wall Street bankers who lost friends and co-workers in the September 11 terrorist attacks heard about the efforts of a Kentucky sculptor to create a tribute to US Special Forces in Afghanistan, they commissioned him to build a large-scale version for a monument near Ground Zero.

Jul 13th, 2012
Scanner helps create tribute to US forces
Scanner helps create tribute to US forces

When a group of Wall Street bankers who lost friends and co-workers in the September 11 terrorist attacks heard about the efforts of a Kentucky sculptor to create a tribute to US Special Forces in Afghanistan, they commissioned him to build a large-scale version for a monument near Ground Zero.

Sculptor Douwe Blumberg of DeMossville, Kentucky originally created a small sculpture depicting a Green Beret on horseback holding field glasses and an M4 carbine with attached grenade launcher.

When he was commissioned to make a large-scale version of the sculpture, Blumberg contacted Synappsys Digital Services (Norman, OK, USA) to assist him with the project.

At Synappsys, the small sculpture was first scanned using a hand held scanner from NVision (Coppell, TX, USA) to create a CAD model. The resulting point cloud from the scanner was then converted into a mesh and imported into a rapid prototyping software package where it was converted to a 3-D digital representation.

Synappsys then enlarged the CAD model, sectioned it into pieces and produced each section on a CNC milling machine to the final size. The individual foam pieces were then assembled with glue. Clay was applied to the foam model and Blumberg tooled the final surface. The resultant life-and-a-half-scale, 13-foot-tall foam model of the sculpture was used to produce the mold for the final 5000-pound bronze sculpture.

The statue itself is titled "De Oppresso Liber" (to free the oppressed), the Green Berets motto. It was introduced to the public during the Veteran's Day Parade in New York City in 2011.

Currently displayed at One World Financial Center opposite Ground Zero in New York City, Blumberg expects that it will be installed in a permanent location immediately adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero at the World Trade Center site in the near future.

-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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