PAC 12 Trophy Design
Rapid prototyping and other services help to create the new PAC 12 Trophy that was designed by internationally recognized artist Archie Held.
Archie Held has been creating sculpture since the late 1970s. He studied at UCLA for his graduate and undergraduate degrees, and founded the Archie Held Studios in 1985 (Richmond, CA). Archie has produced over 500 pieces of original artwork, and currently employs ten talented artists and metal fabricators. He primarily works in bronze and stainless steel to produce simple and elegant designs.
Archie Held Studios won the competition to design the PAC 12 College Football Playoff Trophy this year. The actual job required that three trophies be manufactured: one full-scale model to be awarded to the team that wins the PAC 12 Championship game, one full-scale model to be kept by one of the sponsors of the game, and one third-scale model to be given to the Most Valuable Player.
Creativity in Design
“The idea for the trophy came to me pretty quickly,” said Archie Held. “I played football in high school, and can tell you that anyone who plays on a winning team knows exactly what that feels like.” The idea of having a competition for the best trophy design was to initiate a new and contemporary look to the trophy, something different than a cup, something that would portray the thrill of victory.
Archie explains his creative inspiration for the trophy this way: “In football, a win may have several different images to draw from. One image might be the football as it flies between the goal posts, or the referee holding his arms in air at the end of the final play, or the player holding up the football that he just caught to make the touchdown.” To Archie, they presented similar gestures. “Add to these images the cool logo of the PAC 12, and you have a concept,” he adds. “The idea of having the “V” for victory was totally secondary to the stronger, and more human images that came to me first.”
After the initial sketches were completed, Archie refined his idea. “During this time, I was further reminded that the twelve teams had been separated between North and South, and again this idea fit into my design. In my sketches, the form splits and curves backward—the ball holds the two pieces together. The design spoke to me through emotion and form,” Archie said. “This is what I do for a living, and the whole design had to click in order to feel right. This felt right.”
Technology in Manufacturing
Solid Concepts’ combination of a proprietary QuickCast build style, SC 1000 photopolymer material, and their clear coating process provides superior investment casting patterns for foundries, allowing customers to produce functional metal prototypes without producing hard tooling, which often takes several weeks.
The original design of the PAC 12 Trophy was created using Alias Design software from Autodesk. “I worked with an outside designer to tighten my original drawings before contacting Solid Concepts to help with production,” Archie said. “It was easy for Solid Concepts to convert my files into whatever software they chose to use to create the master pattern for the trophy. “Transferring files from one system to another can create small amounts of fragmenting that needs to be cleaned up before the pattern can be made,” according to Jesse Marin, Solid Concept’s project manager for the trophy build. “We take care of any minor adjustments in-house.”
“The whole process had to happen within a very short window,” Archie said. “We had only three weeks from start to finish.”
“Although it may sound simple—just pour metal into a mold and you have a trophy—there are a lot of things to consider, and steps to perform,” Jesse explains.
The trophies were to be cast out of 17-4 PH steel, which needed to be welded together and polished to look like Archie’s original design. The larger trophies were about 30 inches tall, 17 inches wide and about 14 inches deep. Because they would be cast out of steel, they would end up weighing about forty pounds.
The master pattern for both trophy sizes was built using Solid Concepts’ QuickCast process. Solid Concepts’ combination of a proprietary QuickCast build style, SC 1000 photopolymer material, and their clear coating process provides superior investment casting patterns for foundries, allowing customers to produce functional metal prototypes without producing hard tooling, which often takes several weeks. This process is perfect for a short run item like the PAC 12 trophy. Plus, the QuickCast process can be completed at a third of the cost and in ten percent of the time as traditional methods, such as using wax or wood patterns.
QuickCast patterns are up to 35 percent lighter than conventional stereolithography patterns, which translates to higher yield in the casting process. When those patterns are made from the company’s SC 1000 they also provide proportionately less ash and minimal thermal expansion forces during flash firing. SC 1000 was specifically developed for the QuickCast process. It provides high green strength, greater accuracies without using as much material, and resists water absorption. Solid Concepts’ proprietary QuickCast build style offers complete internal draining and excellent final surface sealing on walls and features over 0.060 in.
The nine trophy pieces (three pieces for each of the three trophies) were then sent back to Aurora Castings to be welded together into the final trophy. A second round of polishing was necessary once the pieces were welded to assure a smooth and perfect look.
After the Quickcast pattern was made, the next step was outsourced to Aurora Castings (Santa Paula, CA) the company that would pour the casting. Aurora Castings is a private company that specializes in custom and OEM DieCasting manufacturing. The trophy was poured in three separate pieces, which included the two arms and the ball. After hardening, which took between two and three hours, the components were outsourced to a nearby polishing house in Oxnard, CA to be polished to the exact finish as Archie’s design.
The nine trophy pieces (three pieces for each of the three trophies) were then sent back to Aurora Castings to be welded together into the final trophy. A second round of polishing was necessary once the pieces were welded to assure a smooth and perfect look. Archie also designed the granite base for each trophy. With the base, the final weight of one of the larger trophies was approximately 58 pounds.
The PAC 12 Championship Trophy was presented to the winning team on Friday, December 2nd just after the championship game. At that time, the teams name was engraved into the granite base. The entire process of creating the 2011 PAC 12 Championship Trophy in such a short time period was a mixture of the creative intuition and passion of Archie Held, and the fast turnaround QuickCast process supplied by Solid Concepts.
About the Author
Terry Persun is a Technical Journalist, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science as well as an MA in Creative Writing. He has worked as an engineer as well as a marketing consultant. Six of his novels have been published. The latest is “Cathedral of Dreams”, a science fiction story of the near future.