Darlene Farris-Labar in the 3D Printing Lab

Pineapple Express: Printing a Planet that Dreams with Darlene Farris-Labar

My hometown of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania is far away from the warm tropical breezes of the Hawaiian Islands. But that didn’t stop me from paying homage to Hawaii’s favorite fruit, the pineapple, by capturing its spiky beauty in my university’s printing lab at East Stroudsburg University.

J750 Pineapple Form
Pineapple form created on the Stratasys J750 printer.

The printed art, created using the Stratasys J750, a full color, multi-material 3D printer, features intricate geometric patterns and a full spectrum of colors to create the life-like end result. To start the design process, I placed a real pineapple on NextEngine, a 3D laser scanner that was able to capture the fine detail of the fresh fruit from all angles.  While the design process came together fairly seamlessly, the most challenging portion of the pineapple to scan proved to be the crown of green leaves, where the plant’s sharp angular form is met with softly veined organic patterns. After I scanned the pineapple and fused the scans together in Rhino 3D to create one extremely large file that was imported into Adobe Photoshop, we were able to layer and color the leaves for a beautifully translated 3D design.

As the design got started here at East Stroudsburg University, I tested a variety of 3D printers but struggled with the limited color palette that most offered. The world is full of wonderful design, whether in form or color. When we print something so detailed and intricate, it can be challenging to paint the detail in color on these forms by hand.  Taking the guesswork out of the color design, by utilizing the precision and full range of color design software programs allows students and artists a unique opportunity to bring their creative visions to full expression. The challenge in the past was finding a printer that worked with design software programs to bring the colorful creations to life and we quickly learned that the color options were limited with the Objet 500. We had to narrow down our artistic forms to three basic colors, which was quite a challenge.

As our Art + Design 3D printing program at East Stroudsburg University advanced, we were lucky enough to acquire the Stratasys J750, which contains a full range of colors created from cyan, magenta, yellow, white and black. The possibilities to create with a full color range are endless. What we view in the virtual environment of my various design programs is easily replicated in 3D printed form, thanks to the J750.

As our university art and design programs have expanded to include practical applications in the area of 3D printing, so have our imaginations. The growing opportunities for creative, innovative and entrepreneurial problem solvers are made possible in our lab. Designers trained from East Stroudsburg University’s Art + Design program can develop creative and innovative products and solutions for a variety of industries and entrepreneurial activities. We’ve all been really excited about 3D printing here at ESU, and the students are out in the community, displaying what we have and educating the community. All sorts of things are possible now.

 

Visit Stratasys.com for a webinar with more detailed information on this project.

Visit Darlenefarris.com for more about Darlene’s Art.

 

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