Dec 22, 2015 | By Tess

Last month, L’Opera de Montreal brought to life Richard Strauss’ tragedy Elektra, the harrowing and legendary story of the Greek heroine Elektra and her desire to avenge her father, Agamemnon. The opera itself received rave reviews with the performers being lauded for their emotional and convincing performances, though another aspect of the opera also had its share of the spotlight: a seven meter tall, over 2400 kg, 3D printed statue of Elektra’s father, which made up the set decor.

The statue’s design was based off of an original work by San Diego artist Victor Ochoa that represents Agamemnon’s broken and suffering self. During the opera, the hulking sculpture was a constant presence on the stage, shadowing and looming over the actors as well as being moved around by them.

The process of 3D printing the giant set piece was led by a team at AsorCAD, a 3D printing service that specializes in 3D design, reverse engineering, and capture point cloud. AsorCAD also worked in collaboration with Spanish 3D printing service Undo, who helped them to design and optimize the digital 3D design and its properties, and supplied a set of BCN3D 3D printers to additively manufacture the artwork.

In order to create the immense sculpture, the design had to first be divided into different sections and sub-sections to accommodate the size of the 3D printers’ print beds. Undo was responsible for the division as well as determining the thickness of the individual pieces to provide a stable, moveable structure. Once the sections were divided into separate CAD files, a set of Catalan BCN3D+ 3D printers set to work in additively manufacturing the individual pieces. In the end, almost 400kg of filament were used to 3D print over 2,900 pieces which, when assembled, made up the skin of the sculpture. The inside of the sculpture consists of an aluminium frame that provides stability and to which the outer 3D printed pieces are secured to.

Once the pieces were assembled the sculpture was treated with various surface finishing processes to both keep the pieces safely together, and to give the statue the desired aesthetic look and texture. In total, the 3D printed sculpture took over seven months hard work to create and over 100 people in various teams working to bring the project together.

Of course, working to create a 7 meter tall 3D printed statue posed some inevitable challenges, but with the teams at AsorCAD and Undo, and artist Victor Ochoa working closely together, the work came together impressively well. As can be seem in the photos of the stage layout, the sculpture provides a unique and interactive backdrop for the actors to engage with, and is itself a striking piece of art.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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