When it comes to sculpting, there are really two paths to take, either organic or complex, with each method having its own set of pros/cons including precision, pricing, delivery and more.

Sculpting Organic Shapes
Organic shapes can be anything from an orange to a tree to a myan temple…basically anything that is irregular or asymmetrical. If you look at anything in nature, you’ll find organic shapes. These can often be easier to sculpt by hand as they don’t need to be exactly precise which can save time by not having to program a a CNC machine. 

Sculpting Complex Shapes
This method involves precision. When the design must be exact with no room for interpretation, a different kind of approach is needed. This usually entails a CNC machine of some sort that offers precise movements producing an exact representation. Usually these are objects that need to appear perfect and symmetrical in appearance. CNC Machines can vary between flat bed tables with a vertical spindle (basically the drill bit) or a multi-axis machine that is capable of going up, down, side ways, upside down…you get the idea. 

Price
When looking at pricing you have to take a look at the entire picture. With organic sculpting, you’re looking at primarily two costs…labor and materials. Because a human would be sculpting this no 3D model or toolpathing processes are required. The hands are the robot so to speak! With CNC machines, you’re looking at various costs including toolpathing, 3D modeling and then the time to run on the robot. If you want exact precision though, the robot is the only choice.

 

Materials 
Sculpting materials that are low in density (i.e. 1 lb EPS foam) can be performed by a sculptor. However, if you take 2.5 lb density foam (roughly 2X the density and weight as 1 lb foam) the ability to sculpt by hand goes away and the requirement to use a robot is required.