While “Creating Moments of Awe” In 2013 PROJECT + META’s CEO, Paul Fuentes, provided technical direction, fabrication drawings and 3D CNC files for an element used in Britney Spears’ Las Vegas show, Pieces of Me, (while employed with ShowFX). The Element was used during her song “Slave for You”. Britney Spears’ designers called this element the “Lily Pad”.
The Lily Pad was fabricated by ShowFX. It has an aluminum sub-frame, as well as full plumbing and water tanks for the element’s water fountain. The visible scenic parts are made out of fiberglass, vacu-formed plastic and hard coated foam. This element was built on casters and breaks in half for easy transportation during touring.
For this project Paul focused on technical direction and design for the visible scenic parts. The frame and mechanical design was handled by other staff.
How do we get an exact mold of this 12′ Ø. Lily Pad with out using a 5 axis CNC router, as this option would cost nearly $15,000.
While working on other 3D projects using a 5′ x 10′ CNC table Paul found that if your model exceeds the 4″ thick material maximum, for some builds, you could simply slice your model into 4″ thick segments. Using this concept you can cut almost any size project, assuming there are no under cuts, (the term “undercut” refers to cuts not accessible by a 3 axis CNC). This process, with labor and materials, was approximately $2,500, 1/6th of the cost of using a 5 axis CNC.
Custom Shaped Fiberglass Curls:
These shapes were cut on the CNC table as a negative mold creating a smooth show surface. After fiber-glassing these pieces they fit perfectly on the lily pad.
Why didn’t we have one of the sculptors carve the Lily Pad?
The client was looking for an exact replica of this shape and it needed to be perfectly symmetrical, this is difficult to achieve during the sculpting process. By not using sculptors we eliminated the need to carve a positive buck. During the fiberglass process a negative mold must be created from the sculptors positive buck. Starting off with a negative mold reduced the cost and labor for fiberglass by 50%.
Paul created the 3D CAD model for the chair’s backrest, and armrests. These shapes were cut on the 5’x10′ CNC table. The foam backrest was used as the mold for the vacu-form process to create a beautiful custom shaped clear plex backrest. The foam arm rests were hard coated and painted black with clear coat.
The end result was a visually striking and durable element used for Britney Spears’ live performance of “Slave for Me” that was used for many years.
Please Note: This BLOG is meant as a portfolio piece to showcase the work of Paul Fuentes CEO of PROJECT + META.