Isis Tripod

Etching by Gianbattista Piranesi
Factum Arte, 2014

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Original Piranesi etching of the Tripod and rematerialization




The video above shows a preview of the rotating 3D model corresponding to the tripod.

Comparison of the 3D model and a first prototype Comparison of the 3D model and a first prototype

The 3D virtual version of one of Piranesi's etchings is shown here as an STL file (left) produced by Voxelstudios in Madrid, after which it was prototyped by Materialise (right) based in Belgium. The process used to build this prototype from a STL file is called stereolithography, the tripod was divided into sections and then each part is built slice by slice from bottom to top, in a vessel of liquid polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam. The prototype surface is then reworked by hand in order to add more intricate details and after which a silicon mould is made from which the tripod can be cast subsequently.



Wax positives of the 3 sphinxs from the Isis Tripod - part of the process of lost wax casting. The foundry work is being carried out at Fademesa, Madrid.

A wax positive of the leg of the Isis Tripod - part of the process of lost wax casting.

Selecting a ball of alabaster from Antonio Soro's quarry in Fuentes del Ebro. This Alabaster will be used as the top part of the Piranesi Tripod.

Cutting the alabaster


Section of alabaster

Sanding the alabaster top in a basin of water

Blow torching the bronze creates chemical reaction which adds a patina to the surface.

Welding the inner side of the legs together in the Fademesa foundry

Adam Lowe experimenting with different chemicals to further develop the patina.

[L] Comparing the resin prototyped leg of the tripod to the newly cast bronze legs




The Isis Tripod in exhibition

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