Making miniature sculptures

I have been making bronze sculptures by using lost wax method…They
were from life size clay models… Now, I want to make small
sculptures of the people as a jewellery …

I just wonder if I could take pictures with my digital camera -from
different angels- and convert the pictures from 2D into a 3D format
and that info send to a CNC machine to carve a model…

Any suggestion will be very much appreciated…



I doubt that you could convert your 2D pictures into a 3D format. It
would be far easier to locate someone with a 3D scanner and have them
scan your pieces. This would generate a 3D file for machining.

Joel Schwalb

Hi, Canan. You may get some other replies that will say different or
more than I… As far as I know, this is how it is at this point in

  1. Just sculpt your figures from the pictures - this is the old
    fashioned way.

  2. There are 3d scanners but you need to have one, they only take
    smaller items, like 3" tall, in the jewelry sized machines, and as
    far as I know they’re not suited for live people, just hard objects
    that don’t flinch.

  3. There are 3d conversion utilities, but they don’t do sculpture as
    far as I’ve ever heard, they do relief - like if you put a portrait
    on one of your signet rings. And what I’ve seen they don’t do a very
    good job with non-vector graphics.

  4. The way they do 3d animation is to get a program like Maya, take
    a front shot of your model, take a profile shot that’s exactly the
    same pose and exactly the same size, and put the front shot as the
    background on the “X” axis, and the profile as the background of the
    “Y” axis. Then you trace over the lines on the front view, go back
    and trace over the lines on the profile view, and then do a mesh
    that ties all those lines together. It’s laborious, but not as hard
    as my description makes it sound, maybe. To get a true likeness of a
    real person, though, that’s probably the best way, besides just
    sculpting it in clay. For just making human sculpture that’s not a
    likeness of a real person, or even some that is - I can do a rough
    human head in Z-Brush in about 10 minutes… A stick figure of a
    whole body can be done in about 20 minutes or so. Detailing it into
    something fine can take the rest of the day, of course. Z-Brush is
    exactly like modeling in clay on the computer, and it’s seriously
    cool. Realize that those programs generate mesh models, and those
    can’t be machined. In order to do that you either need to do the
    same things in a solids modeling program, many of which have been
    mentioned here on Orchid (SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Alibre, ProE, NX,
    MasterCam, OneCNC, UGS, many others - either the Parasolid kernel or
    the ACIS, most likely), or import the mesh into a solids program and
    convert the mesh to a solid. (Mesh modeling is like a fish net
    suspended into a certain shape, solids modeling is like a block of
    wood carved into a shape.) After all that you may conclude that just
    sculpting it in wax is the easiest and best, and I wouldn’t
    necessarily disagree with you on that… Then you’re going to need
    RP to get a solid part…