The Art of Automation: How Camcraft 3D and CNC Technology Revolutionized the Art of Woodcarving
“MultiCam has been with me since the very beginning. Without these machines, the high rate of production needed for a small newcomer like me to compete in this industry would never have been possible.” — Jerry Frederick
For traditional woodcarvers, a chisel isn't just a tool, it's an extension of the artist. With chisel in hand, the artist and his tool combine in a collaborative effort to sculpt a vision into a realization. Jerry Frederick however, is not your traditional woodcarver. And it's not a chisel that sculpts his vision, it's a MultiCam CNC router.
Frederick, owner of Camcraft 3D, recognized nearly two decades ago, that the traditional process of carving architectural elements such as doors, panels, columns, staircases and other unique wooden sculptures was slow and out dated. Expertly trained artisans required months to carve each piece by hand, making large scale projects, especially those with a deadline, an arduous and economically difficult task to complete.
Jerry's solution: incorporate the CNC process into woodcarving and generate one-of-a-kind architectural components faster and more efficiently than anyone had ever done before. The CNC process would provide him with the ability to duplicate, manipulate, scale and size any art file developed in a CAD/CAM program and his MultiCam CNC router would effortlessly carve it into form. The time and cost of production would be dramatically reduced allowing Jerry to do things that no other woodcarver had the capabilities of doing.
Camcraft 3D's first project came about simply because Jerry promised to "deliver results fast." The task: intricately carve components for 100 custom made doors for computer-mogul, Michael Dell, and his new mega mansion, appropriately named "The Castle." Previous to Camcraft's incorporation of CNC technology, the task would have taken numerous craftsman years to complete. Instead, one part-time craftsman and his machine were able to finish the entire project in only 3 months.
With word of this new approach to woodcarving beginning to spread, Camcraft 3D acquired a series of new projects that pushed both Jerry's creativity and his machine's capabilities to the limit. For two years Jerry ran his machines day and night to carve nearly 45,000 sq. ft. of components for a mansion in Houston. He restored major components for the St. Joseph Cathedral in South Dakota and duplicated a 2,500-year-old frieze and capitals from Persepolis in another 40,000-plus sq. ft. project in the Memorial area of Houston. He also worked on high end residential projects for the high-tech architectural firm, Metalab.
More recently, Camcraft took over for a group of hand carvers that failed to outfit a 25,000 sq. ft. residential project in Austin Texas. Jerry was called in and did what the others couldn't in only 6 months, then continued the project last year with a 10,000 sf. ft. exotic car garage with over 10,000 carved components.As the size and complexity of each project began to grow, so did Camcraft 3D's arsenal of reliable MultiCam CNC Routers. With 5 MultiCam's currently in operation, Camcraft 3D recently acquired a new 7000 Series router equipped with 8 spindle-heads to add to its lineup. "MultiCam has been with me since the very beginning," Frederick said. "Without these machines, the high rate of production needed for a small newcomer like me to compete in this industry would never have been possible."
The addition of the new multi-head router is sure to play a large role in the production of one of Camcraft's current side projects in which start-up Burl Eyewear has enlisted the company's services to carve wooden frames from exotic woods like Tulip, Zebra, and Honduran Rosewood. "At present, we are able to produce around 300 sets of frames and arms at a time," Jerry said, "but that number will greatly increase with the arrival of our new machine."
As important as, "delivering results fast" has been to the success of Camcraft 3D, the ability to embody the personal artistic vision of each client through the use of technology and old world sculpture techniques such as clay sculpture is what has really made this process so revolutionary. Jerry's work has become a unique combination of something incredibly modern in terms of its development but traditional in the sense of the materials being used and the output that it generates. Just as Picasso's development of Cubism flipped the art world on its head, Camcraft 3D's development of CNC technology into woodcarving continues to do the same.
If you would like to learn more about Camcraft 3D or would like to view its impressive portfolio of work please visit: www.camcraft3d.com
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"It is hard to believe that it was only six years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated with what I saw and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff." more
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