Friday, March 27, 2015

3D Printed Lab Ware article

PLOS (Public Library Of Science) Biology Blog: 3D Printing Labware:
Open Labware: 3-D Printing Your Own Lab Equipment, by   This has come up before.  This article gives a fresh look.  I notice that the precision of a printed pipetter depends upon the precision of the printer.

Make magazine had an issue in 2014 with reviews of several 3D printers.

One of the most fantastic developments of the Maker community is the development of "open source" libraries of digital blueprints.  One of the most obvious is Thingiverse.  Thingaverse is connected with Makerbot, a manufacturer and developer of printers.   William's 6th grade class had two Makerbots, as well as a scanner.  

Thingiverse (as an example) is first of all a library of digital blueprints for 3D printable objects.  Plans are "open source": the plans are downloadable, executable on a printer, and MODIFIABLE.  Even more fantastic, modified and improved plans are uploadable.   Commericalization is already apparent in the world of 3D printing.  To what extent this is enabling, and supports further innovation, is an open book, but my opinion is that close source, proprietary "innovation" is problematical.  Copyright issues, according to Wikipedia's article about the Thingaverse, are already cropping up.

Here is a link to what appears to be a "microscope collection" at Thingaverse.  Wow.

My spirits are lifted by the stories of collaboration to improve designs, or to adapt openly contributed designs for one's specific need.  For example, I want to print (when I have a printer) a microscope and a macroscope for my cell phone, and to adapt one of them to fit the objective lense of my own microscope.  In mere months, I have seen a large number of improvements in designs for these kinds of Things appear on thingiverse.

At Ace Monster Toys, a maker space in Emeryville, CA, I understand, a 3D Printer Interest Group exists, where members help one another to make printers.   William has a Raspberry Pi (RP).  The next step is an Arduino.  Several 3D printer designs rely upon the Arduino as the controller.   We are looking for an affordable display for the RP.