MCAD Tech News (#317)

13 Oct, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Temple Team Captures 3D Data to Craft Traditional Hindu Sculpture

Using laser scanning to create a CAD model of a sacred bull makes a mammoth custom manufacturing project more manageable.

By Isabelle Roy

VectraFORM Engineering and Solutions is a Creaform Handyscan 3D distributor based in Coimbatore, in the southern part of India. In 2008, the company came across the opportunity to help create a nandi — a sacred bull sculpture — for the Shiva temple of a well-known spiritual foundation. In Hindu mythology, a nandi is a bull that carries the god Shiva and serves as the gatekeeper of Shiva and Parvati. Traditionally, every Shiva temple has a nandi facing the main shrine, and worshippers pray to the nandi first before attending to Lord Shiva.

Artisans crafted the first model of the bull sculpture from plaster of paris, then scanned it with a Handyscan 3D laser scanner.
Artisans crafted the first model of the bull sculpture from plaster of paris, then scanned it with a Handyscan 3D laser scanner.

The Sadhguru, or chief priest of the temple, was keen on the idea of having a sacred bull different from those in existence across India, and wanted it to last more than 500 years. A stone or rock nandi was the first option considered, but the spiritual foundation had previously been disappointed when attempting to build three stone sculptures of Lord Shiva. Those figures were hand-sculpted from drawings and pictures, without the aid of any 3D scanning or CAD technology. The sculptures did not fulfill the original design intent, and furthermore, working in stone consumed a great deal of time and effort.

Because of this experience, the foundation was seeking a more reliable alternative. At this point, the temple project leader visited VectraFORM, and selected the company's services after viewing a demonstration of the Handyscan 3D technology.

True to Life

To obtain the 3D shape of the sacred bull, the team considered scanning live bulls. After weighing the inevitable difficulties of dealing with live animals, however, they settled on taking pictures of bulls of various ages and studying their characteristics. The best details from various photographs were combined to create an ideal specimen.

Within a month, the temple sculpting crew created a plaster of paris model from the pictures, striving to imitate the position when a bull begins to stand up. This position, with one foreleg extended, indicates that the bull is "recognizing the master before him." The model was built at 1:6 scale, and measured approximately 2' x 3' x 4'.

Once the concept was approved, the project moved to its next phase: 3D scanning of the model. The plaster model was scanned using a Handyscan 3D scanner. The CAD model obtained — once enlarged by six times to its actual size — was used to calculate information such as the weight of the bull when built with various wall thicknesses. Read more »

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Isabelle Roy is a marketing writer for Creaform.


First Look Review:
Dell Precision M6600 Mobile Workstation

Desktop-caliber performance combines with portability in a single unit.

By Art Liddle

The Dell Precision M6600 is the top-of-the-line model in the company's mobile workstation series. Based on Dell's largest LED-backlit panel and Intel's newest mobile CPU, the M6600 can substitute for a traditional office-bound desktop workstation for all but the most extreme projects. For those who require a CAD workstation for both the office and on the road (or at home), the M6600 is a single-system solution.

System Features

The Dell Precision M6600 features an Intel Core i-5 2540M and can be configured to a variety of Intel processors, including an Extreme Quad Core i7-2920XM mobile CPU (8-MB cache) running at 2.5 GHz. This chip supports a Turbo mode of 3.5 GHz when running a single core. Our review system arrived loaded with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate. It tips the scales at 9 lbs — a bit on the heavy side, but far from the 12 lbs weight of a competitor's machine that we reviewed recently. The dark brown aluminum and magnesium alloy chassis is rugged and measures 16.4" x 10.7" x 1.5".

Dell pairs the M6600's spacious 17.3" LED-backlit panel with NVIDIA's Quadro 4000M graphics controller loaded with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. This combination provides a maximum on-screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with 32-bit color. (The NVIDIA 4000M supports a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 with an external digital monitor or projector.) Read more »

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Art Liddle is a former editor-in-chief of Cadalyst. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and teaches physics at Springfield High School.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


CIMdata PLM Certificate Program — Amsterdam
October 24–28, 2011
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The CIMdata PLM Certificate Program prepares PLM professionals at several levels to address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. This assessment-based certificate program includes an intimate classroom experience, individual and team-based exercises, and individual evaluations of achievement. Read more »

Graphics Systems User Conference
October 25–26, 2011
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The Graphics Systems User Conference features presenters and training sessions focused on making SolidWorks users more efficient with their design tools. Read more »

BIG I.D.E.A.S. — Defining Design Automation Solutions
October 27, 2011
11 a.m.–3 p.m. ET
IMAGINiT's BIG I.D.E.A.S. virtual event series showcases industry experts in sessions about manufacturing trends and design concepts that can help manufacturers pioneer products. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


CAD Manager's Survey 2011 Closes Today!
Today is the deadline to participate in Robert Green's annual survey — make your voice heard now! Read more »

CADspeed Blog Post:
Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 4 — Sustainability

The last installment in this series about remote graphics will explore sustainability and conclude the discussion. Read more »

User Profile: Slaying the Dragon
After years spent thinking that AutoLISP programming was a dark art, Adam Sherratt takes it on — and wins. Read more »

How to Hire a Great BIM Manager
The best leaders have several traits in common — and a few of them might surprise you. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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