How to Make Pattern for Foundry Use

As an sculptor, you create a sculpture and foundry help you reproduce your work with another medium, usually a type of metal such as bronze, aluminum, zinc, etc.

To help an art foundry finish their job, a sculptor needs to provide them with an original work in a proper form. We call the original work you give foundry a master pattern.

Usually, a pattern is all a foundry need to cast metal. Generally, master pattern can be made with two ways.

For small scale project, a sculptor can create the pattern himself. We will discuss the material and way to create pattern in next articles.


For large scale project, a sculptor only need to sculpt a scale Maquette, which is a small preliminary model, and let the foundry know how large you want the maquette to scale up. As far as the foundry knows the size of the final sculpture, they have two options to enlarge it, by manual or by a CNC router. There are pros and cons of these two ways.


Traditional wayIt can capture details of the original work. Sometimes it’s more economical than a CNC router. (its material is clay and it’s reusable)It’s time consuming.
Unless the enlargement is done by professional patternmaking team, the accuracy of scaled sculpture can’t be guaranteed.
CNC RouterIt’s faster. ( actually, it depends on the type of CNC router )
The accuracy of scaled enlargement is generally guaranteed.
For those sculptures requiring very fine details, the machine may not carve it.
Sometimes it’s expensive especially when you use pricy polyurethane.

Below are two examples using these two methods.







Any comments or ideas about pattern making is highly appreciated. If you have any question about how to make pattern, feel free to let me know. (Owen Weng)


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