As solicited over twitter by TheFrogBlog, I designed a T7 Bacteriophage model for 3D printing via Shapeways. And, here it is: ](/images/Bacteriophage_Model.jpg) Bacteriophage T7 It’s a little fragile at the tips of the legs, so I might increase the size a little to make it more robust. Also, the neck is a little weak where the head joins the body, so I may have to lower the head a little to strengthen that connection.
I’ve written before about Biocurious, the nascent Hackerspace for Biology that is raising money to rent out a real, no-kidding biotech lab full of professional equipment for community and citizen science. It’s ambitious, it’s brilliant, and it’s already resulted in a study that’s been published in Nature Medicine (a very prestigious journal even for well-equipped lab scientists), long before they reach their funding goal. The study in question was an excellent example of the power of citizen science and collaborative work.
I tested the ‘Tower Bridge’ mousetrap, after sanding the rails down good and smooth. It fell either too easily or not easily enough, but I got it to stay gently jammed in the ‘up’ position after baiting it, then left it for two nights. As the pictures show, first day it had been visited.. by Ants! Cheeky feckers. Next morning it had fallen, but again with no mouse. I feel that the tendency to fall randomly is an issue, calling for a trigger of some sort.
Hello Makerbotters and curious folk. Here’s a well deserved update for the “Mouse Get!” Challenge I posted.. er.. ages ago. To recap for those unaware: the challenge was to create a printable, live-catching mousetrap that could be made with a Makerbot. That worked. I offered $25 for the winning design. Makerbot Industries added an optional condition that the winning trap be Open-Source, which was an obvious condition that I somehow forgot (d’oh), and awesomely added a Teeshirt to the prize.
A week or so ago I sat down in OpenSCAD and spent some time modelling something I’ve wanted to make since I got my Makerbot almost a year ago. For a while, I hadn’t made it because OpenSCAD’s compiled binaries didn’t support extrusion, which I needed to create a twist-y backbone. For a while after that, I was exceedingly busy with marriage and mousetraps. I still am busy with mousetraps but we all need a holiday now and then!
Just for love, I designed and printed myself a little sculpture of a DNA double-helix on a small base. It’s going to be my desk ornament in the lab for the next few months while I try to finish my project on time and write a thesis. Of course, nowadays if you’ve made something you’re proud of, it’s a trivial thing to offer it for sale to others with similar nerdy interests!
Title says it all. For those so inclined, here’s my very late notice that I’ll be talking about Makerbots, Repraps and Thingiverse this Wednesday 14th in the Science Museum. The event starts at 6:30. Ignite is an event that asks “Enlighten us, but make it quick”. It was started by Bre Pettis and Brady Forrest as a way for local communities to share ideas and raise the “collective IQ”, and is traditionally composed of a little Make contest first, (like “Best Bridge Made of Popsicle Sticks”) followed by a series of five minute talks.
So, last night (being about 26 hours ago I think) I posted a challenge to the Makerbot User’s Group, asking for a live mousetrap that I could print, use, and award €25 for. Team Makerbot blogged it, and threw in a teeshirt if the winner was released under an open license, which just makes it all the more cool! Today, I received 5kg of plastic from Reprapsource.com, so I’m ready to start printing tomorrow.
Rapid Prototyping is addictive. I knew it would be when I bought the Makerbot, but I didn’t know just how much. Since the moderate success of Dremelfuge, I’ve gone a step further into multi-part, assembled devices, and I’m proud of the result. Microlathe is a Makerbot/Reprap printable Lathe that uses a Dremel for rotary power. I spent a day and a half designing the first draft of it in OpenSCAD, another evening printing the parts, and the minutes I could grab over the last few evenings testing it.
Long Overdue Update: I’m very proud to say that, some time back, I updated the Dremelfuge design with better tolerances and a better shape to handle tubes. When I tested it (only once so far) at full speed on a dremel with two tubes full of fruit smoothie, it didn’t eject or break the tubes at all. So there you go, Dremelfuge can now be considered the world’s cheapest midi-ultra-centrifuge, capable of putting about 52,000g on up to six 1.5ml eppendorf tubes.
Well, since my last post the Makerbot has been busy! Busy breaking and requiring troubleshooting and maintenance. But that’s behind us now; I’ve a lot more knowledge of Makerbotting, and a much tougher Plastruder as a result. Many, many thanks to Mark Adams for the replacement part he printed and sent to me! It Broke So, I’ll keep it brief. The Makerbot is prone to a failure that occurs when plastic melts too high up in the barrel; this leads to increased friction, but also to some molten plastic being shoved up into the insulator by displacement as the filament forces its way down.