Internationally Renowned “The Kelpies” Arrive in New York

April 30, 2014

In a run up to Tartan Week in New York City, Bryant Park welcomed two 15ft tall scale models of Andy Scott’s ‘The Kelpies’ sculptures. The Kelpies, 30m-high steel horses’ heads which sit at the entrance to The Helix near Falkirk, are two of the world's largest equine sculptures.

The original project began when sculptor Andy Scott created the heads by hand with a metal internal framework. The handmade sculptures then had small metal plates welded on to create the outer skin. Developing the full size versions required a great deal of complex structural engineering and design to produce an internal framework that would support the outer skin. In order to create the whole design in CAD, the outer surfaces of the heads needed to be digitally re-created. To maintain accuracy and to faithfully match the outer surface of the original sculptures, they were scanned to create a point cloud which could then be used as a basis for developing the larger structures.

The challenge facing the sculptor was to create the necessary data to support manufacture of the 30 metre horse’s heads, whilst maintaining the original definition of the model.  This challenge was met by Intrinsys and Applied CAE who used the reverse engineering toolset in CATIA, from Dassault Systemes to generate the required data.  Digitised Shape Editor (DSE) was used to import the cloud of point data into CATIA where Intrinsys and Applied engineers used the functionality within Quick Surface Reconstruction (QSR) to re-create the surfaces (CAD geometry) of the horse’s heads. CATIA provided the designers with the necessary toolset to create the geometry for the 30m high horse’s heads so that manufacture could be carried out with confidence that the original definition of the sculpture was maintained.

Alongside the scale models displayed in New York, a time-lapse video documenting the construction of the original sculptures was also unveiled.