The 3D printing company Stratasys Ltd. is helping the legend of music giant Prince to live on.
Stratasys recently worked with the design team at Paisley Park, Prince's estate in Chanhassen, Minn., to create a custom set of 3D printed display pieces to showcase Prince's expansive shoe collection in a new Paisley Park exhibit called The Beautiful Collection: Prince's Custom Shoes.
In a news release, officials with Stratasys in Rehovot, Israel, said that Paisley Park designers and museum curators worked with their firm to bring their designs to life by "pushing the limits of what's possible with 3D printing."
The collection highlights approximately 300 pairs of shoes worn by Prince throughout his career. The Paisley Park team has displayed the shoes in a way that highlights Prince's impact on fashion, performance, and popular culture.
A Baby Grand piano holding 11 pairs of Prince's shoes was made with Stratasys' FDM and PolyJet 3D printing technologies. It's the first-ever 3D printed baby grand piano and is made of 45 individual parts fused together to create the final piece. All structural parts were printed in nylon 12 with carbon fiber, and non-load-bearing covers were printed in a black ASA.
The legs of the piano were designed to resemble Prince's Cloud guitar. Stratasys took more than 250 3D scans of the guitar and processed the scans into 3D print-ready design files. The Stratasys design team spent more than 60 hours on the project to ensure 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. The size of the F900 printer allowed the guitars to be printed in one piece, with each guitar taking at least 60 hours to print.
In addition to the piano and guitars, Stratasys also created the largest 3D printed polymer image on fabric of Prince. The 9-foot-by-9-foot image is composed of 347,130 clear spherical cells with layers of color contained inside.
Stratasys used its J850 3D printer for that project. The printer 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 white cotton denim and hand sewn together.
"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."
The exhibit is set to be open through 2022. The 65,000-square-foot Paisley Park complex is open for public tours. The site includes recording and mixing studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits. It also features exhibit spaces that chronicle films such as Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge and a soundstage and concert hall where Prince rehearsed for concert tours and held private events.
As a music fan who grew up in the 1980s, I remember Prince being everywhere and doing everything. I was one of millions of fans who were shocked and saddened when he passed away at age 57 in 2016. Kudos to Stratasys for helping keep Prince's legacy alive.