One of our regular clients got in touch and asked us to help with a promotion they were working on for Braun. We were asked to create around 1,000 ice blocks to promote one of their new products: Braun CoolTec shavers.
The plan was that they will be used in retail outlets worldwide as a point of sale for the new ‘ice cool’ product. So, we got the job done, delivered the props in bulk to a main distribution centre where they were dispensed to stores throughout the world.
Concept artOur client was working with Braun who had a new razor on the market, The Braun Cooltec shaver. Their whole advertising campaign was based around the shaver feeling as cool as ice so naturally they came up with the idea to have their brand new project displayed in a block of ice in stores worldwide. The concept art shows what they were hoping to achieve and it was our job to make sure it happened.
CNC machining the blockWe were given 3-D artwork to work with and, because the ice blocks had to hold the shavers, we wanted to make sure that the master was as accurate as possible so we used a CNC machine which cut the basic shape, minus the cracks.
Making cracksFrom the CNC cut master block we made a mould and in to this we poured a melted wax based clay and, once it was set, took it out of the mould and sculpted the cracks in to the block.
The mouldsFrom our sculpted block of wax based clay, we made yet another mould and cast out lots of plaster masters, each of which we made a further mould from so that we had many moulds with which to make the process of making 900 ice blocks go that bit quicker.
One ice blockHere is one ice block out of the mould. Our client wanted them to look frosty with a few bubbles inside. We have a de-gasser which takes out any excess air from substances such as resin or silicone, for example, so we put each batch in to the de-gasser and then poured the mixed 2-part polyurethane clear resin in to each mould in such a way that we could re-create the right amount of bubbles (if we hadn’t de-gassed the mix the whole ice block would have too many air bubbles) Each mould was pre-heated prior to the pour and a polythene room was set up to keep all the heat in whilst we were casting them out.
Many ice blocksHere are a few of the 900 blocks. Once out of their moulds there was still work to do on each one including setting each one in a jig and taking away some of the underside, where the resin was poured in to, to make sure the bottoms were flat and also that the height was very specific as the finished blocks had to fit snugly in a glorifier to be displayed in.
The finished ice block on showHere is the finished ice block, in its glorifier and lit up from underneath by an LED light to really make the block look icy fresh.
How we did it
For the shape of each of the props, we needed to make something that the shaver could neatly fit into, at a specific angle and to allow for security wiring and an alarm to attach to the shaver. We first had to have the master CNC cut using CAD drawings, although, this could only make the basic shape. To create further and more realistic detail, we had to mould and cast a new master using an oil-based clay, then sculpt all of the ice detailing into this before making another mould for more masters.
The ice effect
Out of the whole project, we knew that creating that clear effect of ice for the props would be the main challenge. For this, we used clear resin, which can be a tricky task. Luckily, there was enough of a budget there to buy the best resin on the market, and our team had the relevant experience to work with it. However, we still had to make sure that all conditions were exactly right for it to work effectively. There could be no blemishes on any of the 1,000 props!
When it comes to making such a huge number of replicated props, we know that it’s so important to constantly monitor all the conditions throughout the process to make sure there are no anomalies. This meant that all of the temperatures had to be meticulously checked, assuring that it was at certain levels at different parts of the process.
We had a lot of fun with this commissioned project and believe that the results for the Braun CoolTec shaver promotion truly were ice cool.