Innovations in Digital Conversion @ Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Morphing Innovations

Here at Boston Valley Terra Cotta we recently began a project to restore a series of building components for the Lady Meredith House. This historic house is part of McGill University’s campus in Montreal, Quebec.  With a design in keeping with the Richardsonian Romanesque and an Olmsted & Eliot designed landscape, the building already holds a bit of Western New York spirit so it is fitting that Boston Valley has been chosen to help restore it. Atop this National Historic Site of Canada exists a series of terra cotta chimney pots. The details demonstrated on these pieces were once handmade with techniques that we still use today.  But the centuries old process of terra cotta manufacturing is being updated.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta’s ARCH Design Lab is finding more ways to change the current workflow and adapt to a changing market. Collaboration between the drafting department and the design lab has led to a transfer of data ready for production. Three dimensional drawings converted from digital scans now allow us to create plaster models by machine like the one shown below.

Milled Form and Original  Drawing

Milled Form and Original Drawing

The team utilizes the full capabilities of the new 5-axis CNC router to produce these models with a high degree of accuracy. Because of the precision achieved through the milling process we are able to give the replica unit the same character of the historic block. We can create the plaster model needed for the production process with greater ease and efficiency than making it solely by hand. We are continuing to explore the technology to expand the range of projects for which this process can be used.

CNC Router Milling Chimney Pot Form

CNC Router Milling Chimney Pot Form

By combining new technology with old techniques, we can produce unique products. The Lady Meredith House will soon get a new update with a very familiar look.