Amsterdam-based WAAM 3D printing pioneer, MX3D, has successfully completed the printing of ‘The Whale Pass’ – a design by Studio C&C. The artwork consists of a whale head, fin, and tail – representing a passage of a group of whales. It is printed in stainless steel by MX3D’s robotic 3D metal printing technology, MetalXL. With a total weight of 880kg, it is one of the largest artworks ever fabricated using Robotic Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology.
Paolo Albertelli and Mariagrazia Abbaldo designed ‘The Whale Pass’ based on the idea of a passage of whales in an urban park. “When you look at the whale from the boat, you see only parts emerge that are a prelude to an imaginary presence that brings with it not only its real dimensions but also a myth that crosses every human culture”, said Paolo Albertelli, artist at Studio C&C.
MX3D’s extensive experience in WAAM enabled both design freedom and advanced production flexibility and speed. For instance, the whale head has a notable height of nearly 5 meters. The texture achieved by MX3D’s WAAM technology resembles the whale skin texture – adding a new dimension to the sculpture. Finally, the balance between the carved marble stone, used in the sculpture to represent the whale’s stomach and ice, “as a symbol of a habitat to be respected and defended”, and 3D printed metal alloy adds a unique element to the sculptures.
“MX3D’s robotic 3D metal printing technology provides a smart and digital production solution. It allows for higher form and size flexibility in shapes and textures, higher deposition rate, and reduction of material use and waste, making it highly relevant to achieving sustainable goals of many different industries, companies, and organizations,” said Gijs van der Velden, CEO of MX3D.
Studio C&C’s ‘The Whale Pass’ is part of the ‘Animals at Court’ exhibition in the Royal Gardens in Torino, Italy, and is now open to the public.
“The humpback whales we encountered in Tonga while diving were lost in the depths of the sea, their dark backs resembling a metal, burnished stainless steel or a liver-patinated bronze. Movements, sinuous twists, made one perceive the white belly streaked with black. The impression was that of the softness of a modelled marble. The work develops following a deconstructive declination”, said Paolo Albertelli.
‘The Whale Pass’, a set of three large-scale elements of artwork, is printed in stainless steel, and was fabricated at the MX3D facility in Amsterdam. WAAM enables faster and more flexible production of large metal artworks and parts with virtually unlimited sizes with little to no pre-manufacturing setup needed.
The three parts have been printed using MX3D’s largest printing cell in portions as tall as three meters, and manually welded together – shaped into one of the biggest artworks fabricated by WAAM.
“The installation of the whales is a project that I have always imagined in large parks because it transforms the horizon line with the imaginary depth of what cannot be seen. The backs of the whales resting on the lawn emerge from the earth. The rhythm of the puffs and of the whistles are different from each other, sudden, cross diagonally: they evoke the breath, the calm path of living semi-hidden presences. It is a space for an imaginary outside the rules of the usual paths,” concluded Paolo Albertelli.