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Stratasys creates first AM display pieces for Paisley Park’s exhibition

Exhibit includes a transparent baby grand piano, playable guitars, and a 9-foot-tall pointillist image of Prince with over 347,000 individual 3D-printed cells

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Stratasys in collaboration with the design team at Paisley Park in Chanhassen has created a custom set of 3D printed display pieces to showcase Prince’s expansive shoe collection in a new Paisley Park exhibit, ‘The Beautiful Collection: Prince’s Custom Shoes. Paisley Park designers and museum curators worked with Stratasys to bring their designs to life by pushing the limits of what’s possible with 3D printing. The ‘Beautiful Collection’ highlights approximately 300 pairs of shoes worn by Prince throughout his career. The Paisley Park team has thoughtfully displayed the shoes in a way that highlights Prince’s impact on fashion, performance, and popular culture.

Placed in the center of the exhibit and built to display 11 pairs of shoes, is a baby grand piano printed using both FDM and PolyJet 3D printing technologies. The piano is the first-ever 3D printed baby grand piano and is composed of 45 individual parts fused together to create the final piece. All structural parts were printed in Nylon12 Carbon Fiber and non-load- bearing covers were printed in ASA Black material. Stratasys utilized the company’s Stratasys F900 3D printer and Stratasys Fortus 450 3D printer to print the structural parts. The keys of the piano were printed using PolyJet technology on the Stratasys J850 3D printer using VeroUltra White and VeroUltra Black materials, no paint was necessary to finish the keys.

Stratasys has created a custom set of AM display pieces to showcase Prince’s expansive shoe collection in a new Paisley Park exhibit

When designing the exhibit, Duff Eisenschenk, Designer for Paisley Park, wanted to ensure that iconic Prince elements were included in the exhibit. To highlight one such item, Eisenschenk designed the legs of the baby grand piano to be replica Cloud Guitars, one of Prince’s most iconic guitar shapes. Stratasys first took over 250 3D scans of Prince’s Cloud Guitar and processed the scans into 3D print-ready design files. The Stratasys design the team spent over 60 hours from the first scan to final files ensuring that each element of the guitar could be replicated through 3D printing.

The guitars were printed on the Stratasys F900 3D printer using Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber, and the size of the F900 printer allowed the guitars to be printed in one piece, with each guitar taking over 60 hours to print. No detail was spared when finalizing the guitars; each piece included an exact replica “cloud” label printed using VeroVivid materials on the Stratasys J850. Further, the guitars were painted and fitted with actual guitar tuning nuts, bridges, and strings – making them not only visually appealing but playable as well. “When creating new exhibits at Paisley Park it’s important to include innovative elements that will not only surprise our guests but also leave them inspired,” said Mitch Maguire, Managing Director for Paisley Park. “We are thrilled that we were able to partner with a Minnesota-based company to create special and unique pieces that enhance this exhibit.”

Stratasys has created a custom set of AM display pieces to showcase Prince’s expansive shoe collection in a new Paisley Park exhibit

In addition to the baby grand piano with replica cloud guitar shoe showcase, Stratasys also created the largest 3D printed polymer image on the fabric of Prince. The nine-foot by nine-foot image is composed of 347,130 clear spherical cells with layers of color contained inside. The ability to replicate the photograph on canvas with such accuracy was due to the Stratasys J850 3D printer which can print more than 640,000 combinations of color, textures, gradients, and transparencies – down to the micron level. The finished canvas was printed in 56 sections on 100% white cotton denim and hand-sewn together.

Stratasys’ direct-to-textile 3D printing was first demonstrated by designers at New York Fashion Week in 2019. The canvas features an image of Prince taken by Jeff Katz in 1992. “The level of 3D printing innovation on display at Paisley Park is incredible,” said Pat Carey, Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth for Stratasys. “In everything we created for this exhibit, we pushed the boundaries of our technology. In addition to being able to showcase and compliment Prince’s shoes through the creation of these amazing 3D printed pieces, we can also highlight how 3D printing can be utilized beyond its typical use cases.” The Beautiful Collection: Prince’s Custom Shoes was designed by Paisley Park’s Duff Eisenschenk and curated by the Paisley Park Museum Collections team. The exhibit is part of all tours and is set to be open through 2022.

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Andrea Gambini

Andrea has always loved reading and writing. He started working in an editorial office as a sports journalist in 2008, then the passion for journalism and for the world of communication in general, allowed him to greatly expand his interests, leading to several years of collaborations with several popular online newspapers. Andrea then approached 3D printing, impressed by the great potential of this new technology, which day after the day pushed him to learn more and more about what he considers a real revolution that will soon be felt in many fields of our daily life.

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