Founders of Ice Sculptures Ltd. Randy Finch and Derek Maxfield, create anything from conventional ice bars and luges to awe-inspiring mechanical ice sculptures....

Ice Guru create a giant game of Mousetrap

Yet despite the duos impressive achievements (such as musical acts by Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen featuring their works, or large corporate promotions for Absolut, Meijer and Grolsch Beer) they aspire to bigger and better things.

Ice Sculptures Ltd. has done just that! Not only have they created a regulation sized pool table as featured on the US TV show, Ripley's believe it or not hosted by Dean Cain, but also an impressive thirty five foot long Mouse Trap game which was shown on Wreckreaction Nation with Dave Mordal.

Ice Sculptures Ltd. based their mouse trap game on the Goldberg design and built it from more than 4000lbs of ice, making it the "biggest contraption that we have ever built", says Randy.

Randy explains that, "Design is key to any ice sculpture and that is why we use Delcam's ArtCAM Express." ArtCAM Express is the introductory CADCAM (Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing) software in the ArtCAM range. "We choose ArtCAM because we wanted a programme that not only eased us into 3D modelling but that also made tooling up easier", continued Randy.

Ice Guru machine Ice with ArtCAM Express

Prior to Delcam's ArtCAM, an array of tools from chain saws to chisels were required to carve away the ice. Not only did this require a large number of tools but it was also a less accurate and more time consuming process. With ArtCAM Express, Ice Sculpture Ltd. was able to use the software for every part of the game, "It saved us about 20 hours of design time", said Randy.

The game begins with the blue and white start sign which was created using ArtCAM's intuitive font tool. Customising the typeface, size and kerning, Randy quickly created the text and then used the Inlay Wizard to create precise male and female parts so that the white text slotted neatly into place.

To start the Mousetrap game, a crank with twenty-two pegs is turned and pushes a stop sign into a boot, which kicks an eye ball down a shoot. A device holding a lit candle is then moved by the ball under a fuse located inside a mythical face. To create the face Randy was able to import a 3D model that he had bought (ArtCAM Express can import a range of formats such as 3DS, DXF, OBJ, 3Dm, STL & U3D) and then set the toolpaths to machine it. In addition to ArtCAM's import facilities, Express also provides users with its own extensive clipart library which means that users such as Randy can also pick from a number of reliefs already available.

Machinging a 3D relief module using ArtCAM Express

Once the fuse inside the face is lit, it burns away a cable holding the Ferris wheel in place. An overhanging piece on the wheel then knocks another ball down into a bath tub and breaks a piece of ice. This releases a cable holding the cannon and tilts it back into firing position, launching a bottle containing dry ice and water into a reinforced ice domino.

"In our Mouse Trap design there are certain components that are exposed to extreme stress and shock, such as the domino piece. To reinforce these pieces we use Pykrete, a combination of water and wood pulp, which can take 4 times the impact of normal ice", says Randy. This reinforced domino pushes another ball down into a shoot which releases the final cable, dropping the cage over the mouse.

Randy continues...

ArtCAM allowed us to see what each of these pieces would look like in 3D before we started sculpting which saved us a great deal of time and materials. It has also given us even greater versatility in our tooling and cutting than ever before.
We only had a short time to produce this game so without ArtCAM we never could have pulled it off. The publicity we gained from that television spot alone paid for the software. With ArtCAM we can be sure that if our clients buy a sculpture that they have seen on our site that it looks exactly like that when they walk into their event. Since buying ArtCAM we have now introduced a new style of ice sculpture that has never been marketed before, '3D reverse snowfill".

Randy concluded that, "We are always looking for a challenge so if anyone has something for us we would love to see it!"

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