Tree Of Life - Public Sculpture by Robert Witherspoon
When Robert Witherspoon received a commission for his new public sculpture, he needed to convert his model into a CAD model for the purpose of creating drawings of each branch so that the tubing could be bent using an industrial CNC bender. The tubing is too large to be bent at Rob's shop.
Industrial fabricators with industrial equipment prefer blueprints and measurements in the language and format they are accustomed to. We were now able to provide that information accurately. You could select a component and call out the correct degree of the pipe bend and also know the size and quantity of the pipe to order from the metal supplier. Witherspoon was able to source most of the pipe bends locally. Some of the bigger pipes were bent in Alabama because their capacity for larger pipes was the nearest source for that service.
We put the model on a circular turn table and photographed every 5 degrees repeatedly as demonstrated. I was then able to import the images into the CAD program to create guides for the design and determine the pipe bending measurements.
The bent pipes are picked up from the industrial pipe bender. Despite having precise drawings of the project that were based on the model, the artist still changed the design during assembly.
Here's the “Tree of Life” as installed at the South Fulton Library in 2016. It stands 15’ and required a crane to install. The foundation is mostly concealed and is submerged 5’ below grade. Some of the artist’s intentions were to create reflections and shadow on the plaza.