Picture of Creating a University Monument and Replica Bronzes
In 2008, my father and I were commissioned to create a 14' high monument of a cougar mascot for Washington State University. We also created three smaller sized bronze replicas of the monument to sell to alumni and fans.

In this instructable I will show you how I created a monument and three smaller sized replica bronze editions using ZBrush and the latest rapidprototyping technology. This was my first experience with this process and perhaps the first time this entire process has ever been used in this way!

You will learn about the lost wax process, ZBrush, CNC machines, scanners, 3d printers, SLA machines, and much more. I hope you enjoy. You can view the project at cougarpride.com or at http://chesterfieldsbronzes.com/

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Picture of Materials and Equipment
This Instructable is quite involved and has many phases or work. 

Shown here are the general tools, materials, software and equipment used in the process. This is not a comprehensive list, but some of the most important items are itemized. 

Clay tools

These tools were used in creating the monument.

1. Clay - 2AB-225 Plasticine Oil Clay - a very nice blend that does not cause irritation under your fingernails
2. Detail tools - Richeson Double Wire End Tools - This is merely my choice here but any similar tools can be used.
3. Curved Rake - These are to even out large smooth areas.

And of course you thumb and finger for lots of handwork!


Here is the equipment used in creating the replicas, however, Zbrush was used in creating the original sculpture. 

1. Zbrush, Modo and Rhino
2. Scanner - Atos
3. 3d Printer - Objet 250
4. SLA Machine - Viper Pro

There was additional harware specific software used as well.

Hard Surface Tools

These materials are used to cleanup the Objet and viper models which have build lines and sometimes need minor correction.

1. Filler - Adtech P-14 - a high grade filler.  One can use standard body filler as well but this is nice stuff.
2. Surfacer - SEM Flexible Primer Surfacer.  This is thinner than the filler and great for filling holes and smaller cracks.
3. Pallet knife - great for small mixes and application of filler and surfacer
4. Die Grinder - Harbor freight cheapy, but works great
5. Ruby and diamond bits - they run very clean and smooth.
6. Abrasive Paper - Mirka Abranet - very nice to use
7. Wax - Ferris Patch-Eze - really, nearly any kind of wax can be used to fill pinholes.
8. Wax tools - helps to press the wax into holes.
9. Mixing Board - Clean Sheets - multiple paper sheets are great to mix filler on.
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This was such an amazingly beautiful project--and a fantastic 'ible. You guys are real pros!

flamekiller3 years ago
Wow, awesome project. I haven't seen the actual statue ... looks like an excuse to go to a game in Pullman next season! Well done!

Go Cougs!
phil1823 years ago
Its really a ton of work, so Great!!!

Sculpture (model) in zbush can be slice w/ section?

Thanks for sharing,
precisionart (author)  phil1823 years ago
I'm actually not positive in which program the model was cut up for the SLA but it was definitely not Zbrush. It was exported as obj file and then managed in different programs for CNC, SLA and 3d printing. I hope I understood your question correctly.
Thanks for your reply.


mnpazan3 years ago
Since SLA printing uses light-curing resin, maybe "baking" the parts under a UV lamp would fix the soft inter-layer problem? Dunno if that would work (don't know if it's a cure problem, or what light wavelength you'd actually need), just tossing it out.
precisionart (author)  mnpazan3 years ago
That is a reasonable proposal. Actually, the SLA had no cure issues, just the 3d print. This may no longer be an issue. If it is, I will definately explore your suggestion. Thanks
SLA is a type of 3D printing, so "the SLA had no cure issues, just the 3d print" is a little confusing. I guess you mean some of the prints were printed using a different process than SLA,? What process did those prints use, do you know?

Baking with a UV light might work if it was a laser-cure resin process, but it wouldn't work for a hot extrusion/deposition or laser sintering process.
precisionart (author)  mnpazan3 years ago
I guess the word 3d printing could be used as the larger category. What I am intending to mean is that the Stereolithography part created with the Viper, which I believe is with a focused laser curing a liquid resin, came out fine. The polyjet version (objet), which is 'printed' and then lamp cured, occasionally had some cure issues (at the time of this project).

I think there might be two different substrates used in the process, one that cures and one that doesn't (support) maybe that is the issue. If so, perhaps your suggestion would not help.

This is how I am using the terminology: http://www.finelineprototyping.com/intro/technologies.php
acoleman33 years ago
every time i go there i have to visit the cugar. now i know how it actually came to be! nice one mate and a serious bang up job on it.
chaitanyak3 years ago
what a well documented project! thanks for sharing with the community!
i've been getting some of my models 3d printed via shapeways.. its definitely a great feeling seeing something you've sculpted in actual physical form.

i did a bronze casting(lost wax process)elective in art school(7-8yrs back)..created a handfull of bronze creatures.., so have always appreciated the work that went into making these large monuments.. never thought it had got this technologically advanced though!

have you tried sculptris? its a lightweight and free app thats great for sculpting(pixologic the makers of zbrush own it now..but have still kept it free)

ps: small typo: please correct "Marquette" to "Maquette"
precisionart (author)  chaitanyak3 years ago
I haven't tried it yet or the new dynamesh feature. Both seem like they would satisfy some of he items on my Zbrush wishlist.

Thanks for the spell check...English was my weakest subject:)
i make typos all the time :P

only spotted yours because i googled it .. (had heard it used before and was wondering what it meant)
jongscx3 years ago
I love the 5th picture in the "superstructure" section where there is a guy coming out of the Cougar's behind...

Sorry, I guess some of us stay 8 yrs old on the inside :-D
precisionart (author)  jongscx3 years ago
It didn't get posted by accident:) I'm an 8 year old too.

Sucks to be low man on the totem pole..."hey Jimmy, get in the cougar's butt"
robecker3 years ago
This is a wonderful 'ible. My dad's first teaching job was in the WSU art dept in the mid '60s. My earliest memories include roaming the halls of higher education and then visiting the live mountain lion they kept in a large cage on campus. These big "little" cats are so beautiful and powerful. I hope this sculpture has replaced the real thing.
precisionart (author)  robecker3 years ago
Yup, this sculpture is placed exactly where "Butch" use to be. Definitely, wouldn't want to run into one on a Mt. hike! We have a local zoo that had a phenomenal looking cougar, Samson. I got most of my reference images from him... unfortunately he did in the middle of this project.
rashoot3 years ago
How long did it take from start to finish?
What was the contract amount?
precisionart (author)  rashoot3 years ago
1 month in Zbrush (first time I used this awesome software). 10 weeks of clay work. Three months to cast. Total time ~7 months. It was a private donor so out of respect for him, I won't disclose the amount.
Thanks for the reply. If you had to make another one, approximately, what should you charge? The reason I ask is I maybe creating a 14' Grizly and it may be more feasible to contract it out to you if you are interested. It would be the typical stand up attack pose

precisionart (author)  rashoot3 years ago
Hi Tony - I would start by getting bids on scale-up, molding and casting etc and then add the profit you want to justify your time. I cast my work at two different foundries - Valley Bronze of Oregon and T. Hunter Bronze of Walla Walla WA. I wouldn't be able help you on this one...I'm co-founding a startup company www.cbuy.tv and I am pretty busy.
De Bergamo3 years ago
This is absolutely impressive! Congratulations, very good work!
SeaPanther3 years ago
That is just too cool! Thanks for sharing
goldpen3 years ago
thanks for sharing this amazing work and detailing the processes which made it happen. Much appreciated
martiro73 years ago
Astonishingly good Instructable! I knew basically how bronzes are made, but yours really put it all into perspective, especially slicing up the piece to fit within the foundry's casting capabilities. Amazing work!
robecker3 years ago
Absolutely amazing. All the information makes me appreciate the beauty of the sculpture even more.
I want to cast a giant bronze sculpture of myself as an angel. You know, for the lounge. This will be a big help. You have awesome skills!
Pattymouth3 years ago
WOW! Amazing Instructable! Now could you buy me the equipment, draw me up a prototype, foam it & wax it & make it for me? My garage is already packed with other projects. But seriously, great job - even though I'm a BYU Cougar & my loyalty lies with that one. ;~}
lkuziez96803 years ago
There is a cougar just like that at SIUE
I'm sorry, but the SIUE cougar is very poorly done compared to this.

It is quite like a cartoon.

And... it looks like he is high on chew. Terrible!

There is NO comparison. You have done a beautiful job!!!!

My wife says: "Go Cougs"

Jerry, arch rival, Husky.
I agree, your statue has more texture to it. However, it was the overall figure that reminded me of the SIUE Cougar
valveman3 years ago
Wow that is amazing. Looks of hours went into that and it looks fantastic. Bravo
keegancdr3 years ago
Haha I'm on stadium right now! Lol I just passed the coug a minute ago! Go cougs!!
precisionart (author) 3 years ago
Hi Everyone. This is my first instructable and I am looking for feedback before I enter it into the "Make it Real" challenge. Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. Mike
You did an incredible job both with the monument and the instructable. Every step was well explained, lots of pictures, very clear. I really think this was the best written instructable that I have read... if not definitely in the top 3.

Excellent job!
precisionart (author)  askjerry3 years ago
Wow, thanks!
cartola3 years ago
Man, astonishing! One of the most interesting instructable I have seen around here. I am not mentioning your total professional job, I also congratulate you for the very good tutorial and sharing.

Obviously I know that there are professionals doing this (and many other things), but I really didn't expect one of them to share the whole experience with us. Hope others get inspired by you and we get more from professionals to complement and give ideas to the poor DIY mortals :)

Thanks a lot!
precisionart (author)  cartola3 years ago
I kind of feel that one of the biggest downfalls of capitalism is the lack of sharing. I absolutely love communities like this here, Zbrush community, etc. because they offer an opportunity to overcome this limitation. Thanks to everyone here!
Honus3 years ago
Wow- talk about an awesome project!

Were there any issues casting the SLA model? I know from experience that sometimes the resins used don't burn out completely leaving an ash residue in the cavity that can affect the casting.
Honus Honus3 years ago
Nevermind- I just realized you probably made waxes from the SLA model. :)
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