Hello fellow makers! My name is Andy and I primarly design stuff and on ocassion I get things printed. In this particular project I was asked to model a certain statue that is a sort of icon in the city of Harlingen, Netherlands. The statue is called “De Stenen Man” (Stone Man) and the customer asked if I could redesign it so it can be used as a burial urn and so it will contain some ashes. This deceased person was a very much proud citizen of Harlingen and therefore it would be a worthy memorial kind of thing to have this made. So here’s a small bit of my design-process (not in depth) and the customer asked Elwin to have this printed. It’s a 2-part story to show you the process involved from question to final product. Feel free to ask any questions. Hope you will find it useful!

Designing the statue

I primarly use Modo and Zbrush for 3D Modelling. Since this is a statue with lots of details on it, Zbrush is the way to go. Ofcourse it can be done in other software but I found that Zbrush is VERY time-saving these days! It’s very much like sculpting instead of traditional 3D modelling. Anyway, I asked for a lot of reference pictures of the statue, they really help in the process, also with tracing some details. The customer specified the size she wanted for the final model (approx. 20cm in height) and it had be possible to put something in it. I therefore decided to split the model so it can function as a box and also have the means to print things bigger. If it’s one object I would need a printer that could print at least 20cm in height. Besides that, there’s the chance of warping with big objects, so it’s necessary to put some thought in these things.

In Modo I made a mockup of 20cm in height, just a box actually. I then (almost like tracing) divide it up in the sections you can see on the statue, and I make sure it’s all symmetrical. So no I have fairly good base to work from. I export this to Zbrush to continue the design process. Zbrush handles millions of polygons with ease and that’s in a nutshell how you get detail in a model. In Photoshop I trace certain elements of the statue (icons, drawings) and make those in black and white pictures called “Alpha’s”. It’s actually to be used as a sort of stencil, white is high, black is low. This is how you can get fast results, also in combination with masking things of in Zbrush. I also use the sculpting-brushes in Zbrush to create detail and especially the 2 heads on top. A Wacom-tablet is really a must-have for these kind of things.

Using Alpha’s voor stencils:

Hollow version:

Finally, when I’m happy with the overall look of the statue I need to make it all hollow so it will save on printing costs and also on the weight. It’s a fairly easy process in Zbrush, you sometimes need to experiment with a certain thickness of the walls and support. It’s actually a one-click process, Zbrush does all the calculations. After that, I export the .STL to Netfabb and do quick check to see what thickness the walls have. Too thin, it will probably come out warped or messed up and to thick, it will have more printing time and more costs. So you have to find a bit of balance in that. When all this is done it can be printed! Yes!

Printing the statue

My name is Elwin (Elwins Hub). After Andy made the design I was asked by the custom to have it printed.

  • 3D Printer: Wanhao Duplicator 4x (with Sailfish firmware and custom enclosure)
  • Slicing software: Simplify 3D
  • Resolution: 0,15mm
  • Temperature: 110c
  • Surface adhesion: thin layer of hairspray
  • Brim: yes, to prevent warping and improve the print.
  • Material: ABS White

The customer asked for black ABS plastic and pointed out that he Urn would be painted. This was the main reason for me to go with White ABS instead of Black (white has a better base to paint on). I also had some bad experience with the Black ABS I own, it doesn’t flow or extrude as well as white ABS does. I also considered using PLA because I think it’s easier to print but it is biodegradable (under the right circumstances). This project needs to last long and will contain a small amount of ashes, I didn’t want to take any risks.

As everyone knows ABS has the tendency to warp, so the first challenge was to begin with the top piece of the object. It is a hollow object and the small edges make adherence to the build plate difficult. I tackled this by adding a brim consisting of 20 outlines. It was printed directly onto a glass plate covered with a thin layer of hairspray and heated to 110 degrees celsius, also to prevent warping.

The second challenge was the overhang in certain areas of the model. I decided not to be cheap and added as much as support as possible, this added a lot of extra printing time but it was worth it.

The base was printed with the same settings only without a brim, because the surface was large enough to get good adherence to the build plate. All of the settings can be found in the print screens below:


Looks great. Did you 3D print it out yet?


Yes, we did.

I’d love to do a story on this. Would you be at liberty of sharing photos? Please email me at 3dprintdotcom@gmail.com

This is an amazing story of a proud citizen!! Truly inspiring and very well written! Thank you for sharing this guys.


The picture is included at the bottom of the article, but here’s a better one the customer (my niece actually :wink: ) send me :wink:

1 Like

Thank you for taking interest in this project! Mail is on the way :wink:

Wow, that print turned out amazing. Props on the design! How do you like Modo?

Great project guys! Looks amazing…

I was wondering though about your support structure: did you use ABS or PVA? And if you used ABS, wasn’t it a lot of hassle to remove it?

Good question, I was wondering that myself :wink: I know Elwin used white ABS for the model. And looking at the screenshot, the statue (tall part) was filled up all the way. Would be a bit of a pain to remove all that given the length of the top object. Although you could leave up in the 2 heads part…don’t know how about becoming brittle over time…wouldn’t be nice to find plastic among the ashes :wink:

I really like Modo, I have been using it since version 201 I think. It’s very easy and fast to get some mockups done or just good modelling, especially with this kind of thing because I can use it’s metric system to size everything accordingly. I could do this in Zbrush but I find it much faster to just go into Modo and place everything exactly. From there on I have something that is consistent in size and proportion. All I have to after this is have fun in Zbrush. (although Modo has sculpting tools too btw! but in my opinion Zbrush is much more superior in the sculpting business)

lol, no that wouldn’t be nice I guess :slight_smile:

For a project like this you would want the inside to be nice and clean… so, if Elwin used ABS support I am curious how he handled it…

Nice work! Really nice of you to share this to the 3d hubs community, thanks!

Oh my goodness. This…this…this…THIS…THIS…THIS is great! (Not trying to be sarcastic). This is a great thing here. Have not tried zBrush, I mostly use Maya/3DS Max myself. But might give it a try.

I can definitely recommend it that you give it a try! I have used Maya and 3DS Max as well, although a long time ago and nowadays sometimes for extracting some models for games/scripts etc. The latest version (4R7) is incredible and 64-bit as well. These days I do a LOT in Zbrush only, I can prototype stuff really fast and most of all I can get detail in models like no other 3D package without crashing my system :stuck_out_tongue: The user interface can quite daunting though…also, Zbrush has a bit of a different approach to modelling, it really is almost like sculpting. Thankfully, the new Z-Modeler is god-like for hard-surface modelling :stuck_out_tongue: You should check some demo’s on youtube I you get the chance. (PS: I’m just an enthusiast, I don’t endorse Pixologic :stuck_out_tongue: )

I’m very new to Z-Brush, so these screenshots work great. Can anyone give any comments on how Z-Brush compares with Rhino and/or Blender? I know from Blender one can do almost everything using the keyboard, granted you know the shortcuts… Rhino I like for fabrication automation…

Well, to be honest, you can’t really compare it I think. Rhino/Blender has the same basic thoughts on how to model stuff as Modo/Maya/3DS Max/Lightwave has… Ofcourse there are a lot of features in every 3D package that are mostly similar in usage and goal, and every package has it’s own field of area in which it excels a bit more then others. I use Modo frequently because of the ease and speed for which I can create something. Using Blender or Rhino has the same experience I think, granted you know your ‘stuff’ so to speak :wink: Shortcuts etc…

Zbrush works has also some same basics ofcourse since it’s a 3D app. The big difference is the mindset behind it. If functions more luke sculpting and reallife modelling (like with clay) then traditional modelling.They only thing, in my opinion, that has more advantage is the fact I can work with millions of polygons with ease and put in a lot of detail. Of the best features Zbrush has in, once again, my opinion, is the Decimation Master plugin and the Z-Remesher functionality. I can trim down a model from 10 million polygons to roughly 50.000 if needed and preserve detail. The Z-Remesher tool lets you do the same but calculates nice and even quad-polygon’s over the whole model. Besides that, the other remesh function lets you do booleans with ease, add and subtract whole meshes together, remesh it with nice geometry and voila! you got your watertight mesh ready for printing :smiley: Ofcourse it takes a bit more careful planning with in a very tiny nutshell: that’s it! :slight_smile:

So for rapid prototyping, especially for toy’s, figurines, game assets etc etc, Zbrush is becoming more and more involved and used. I know it sounds like I’m sort of Zbrush preacher here haha, but I assure you I’m not! :slight_smile: I just talk from my own personal experience. I was planning on posting one of my projects I did for a miniature-gaming company. The stuff I made for them, I think I could’ve done it in a traditional 3D software, but Zbrush just saved me weeks of time…it’s just much easier and faster to achieve the goal. Once you learn to use it (as with all software I guess) there’s no limit :slight_smile: Sorry about my rambeling here! Just a passionate 3D-designer :stuck_out_tongue: You can find lots “classroom” video’s over at the Pixologic website: www.pixologic.com

ow! forgot to add, the new Zbrush 4R7 had a Keyshot bridging feature. I don’t know if you know Keyshot, it’s a easy to use rendering program…just load in a model and a few clicks and it looks good enough to show as concept. You can now bring your high resolution model/mesh over with a single click from within Zbrush. Just wanted to show that for Zbrush, they are trying to give people more time to have fun with modeling and less with tinkering and settings etc etc…can be very tedious sometimes working in 3D.

I did use ABS because i can’t get my second extruder dailed in good enough. There is always a bit of shifting compared to the other extruder. So if i would use PVA it would touch the outlines of the ABS wich would ruin the object. Thats why i only use one extruder.

I have to say that simplify 3D handles supports really Well and they are easy to remove with bare hands or tweezers.

I agree that PVA would be the best solution.

I do like simplify3D myself. Sorry to hear you cant get the dual head tuned. I have the duplicator4 also and it van be a hassle but i tweaked in replicatorg and i was able to get it right a couple of times. Unfortunatly you have to do it often and i haven’t tried s3D tot handle it. But good to know support like this can be removed easy. Thanks for sharing