The 3D printer is already proving useful after just one week in the lab. It’s now so easy to make custom objects I am seeing lots of opportunities to use the printer in the lab instead of cobbling together random odds and ends. In the last few days I have been designing labware on the train, and one item has come out really well. This is simply a flexible modular grid system which I designed to hold about 100 small petri dishes in position over a long term experiment.
In the video you can see the printer in action building a single module for 9 mini petri dishes, which takes about 2.5 hours to print. The modules can be joined together to make a larger grid, and the design is parametric which means key dimensions like height, cell size, and number of cells can be easily changed.
The printer is the BCP-01 based on a RepRap design and was supplied by local engineer Keith Bradburne who develops and produces the printers with his son Colin. My process for printing new lab equipment goes like this:
- Design in OpenSCAD and export to STL
- Import to Repetier-Host
- Slice with slic3r which is integrated within repetier
- Copy the .gcode from slic3r onto a micro SD card
- Put the card in the printer and select the file to print
The flexible grid design can be found in my new GitHub repository – parametric-lab.