By Leah Morrison
SC Contributing Writer
3D printers are an up-andcoming medium of the art world. On Friday, ESU students attended a 3D printing convention in New York City.
Projects in this show included clothes and full-scale human organs that were 3D printed by different artists. Associate professor of art and design Darlene Farris-LaBar took her work to the show as well, displaying many different types of flowers, each one a beautifully painted replica of nature.
Although 3D printing has been around for about ten years now, ESU has just acquired a 3D printer within the last few years after being approved for a grant. It is located in the Fine and Performing Arts Center and is available to students in certain art classes.
I was able to sit in on a 3D Object and Design class taught by Professor Farris-LaBar and saw the printer in action. I watched a small flower, only an inch in diameter, print layer by layer, taking about fifteen minutes. I was shown some other finished projects, such as a 3D logo for a fraternity on campus that took eight hours to print.
The printer does not use ink, but instead a thin plastic that is laid out in a string layer by layer to create the 3D objects. Although ESU currently only uses plastic, the printers can also use copper and other metals.
The class is open to all majors. It is two and a half hours long, allowing students ample time to design their objects using Rhino software only available on ESU computers.
Cedric Mann, a freshman physics major, showed me his model of a lighthouse on Rhino. The lighthouse has a pipe that wraps around the structure that, at first glance, appears like a spiral tube slide at a playground. There is an opening at the top that allows contact solution to be poured into the pipe, and it will be dispensed into a contact holder waiting at the bottom.
One senior graphic design major, Kate Valenti, designed a baby powder dispenser that will be used to brush sand off children after going to the beach. Her design is shaped like a fish, and the body holds a container of baby powder while the tail has bristles of a brush to easily dispense the powder and brush the sand away.
Other students collaborated to make toy dolls with joints that allow the arms and legs to be bent. The students commented that the joints were the hardest part to design, especially finding the right specifications of the ball so that it would move easily in space creating the arm joint.
Many of these students want to continue experimenting with 3D printing after college and are seeking opportunities in larger cities, such as NYC.
Other students, like senior Paul Burke, want to focus on a career in painting or illustration, but now have this unique experience to add to a resume. Burke believes that having this experience with 3D printing will make him stand out over competitive illustrators and make him more marketable. Burke created a combination lunch box-maze game for children to pass the time on a subway or long car ride.
These projects and others will be on display at the Student Research & Creative Activity Symposium on April 23. Support your fellow Warriors and see these creative 3D printed objects for yourself!
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