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3D prints

Come check out these prints up close after my ‘3D Print Anything with the Blender API‘ talk!

I’m so excited!

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Man, it’s been I while since I last posted.
I just haven’t had the time to doodle the happenings.

Today, I found a surprise package in the mail (love!).

Faceless not Maceless

Back when I made pants for peppermints, I decided try out the 3D-printing in full color. I had a wee bit of Sculpteo credits left, so I added a Faceless Void to the order. I totally forgot about him until today.

Faceless Void :D

Oh man is he sweet.

Details! :D

He stands a couple inches tall, fully colored, with super sharp details.

He’s so pretty! I’m really impressed by today’s 3D printing capabilities!

bringing sexy back

I think I’m going to give this figurine to Dan, one of my friends that I played DOTA with. Faceless Void is his favorite character.

I might post a tutorial if folks want to print their own. It’s not too different from printing a uncolored version, like my Mini-Furion.

[print your own hero here]

It’s Peppermint Butler time!

peppermint butler

I outfitted starlight mints into Peppermint Butlers (a character from Adventure Time) using 3D Studios Max and 3D printing technology.

Here’s how I modeled the pants:

The peppermint holder consists of three components: a front, a back, and an in-between.

For the back:

I first created a circle spline of radius 11, and then turned it into a hemi-circle spline by deleting the topmost point and connecting the remaining points. I then extruded the spline by 1 to create the back surface.

For the front:

Very similar to how I created the back, I used the same methods to create the front. I used Break to create additional points in the spline and connected them to form the V-neck.

For the in-between:

I cut a donut spline in half and extruded it by 11 to form the in-between slice.

work in progress

The arms and legs were just simple cylinders. The arm cylinders had a Bend modifier applied to them with angle 50.

With all my pieces positioned correctly, I attached them to a single mesh. At this point, there were overlapping vertices, which would cause problems in printing. To overcome this problem, I selected all of my points, welded them with the threshold 0.1.

With a complete model, I sent it off for printing. Shapeways and Sculpteo were two lovely services that handled all my 3D-printing needs.

standing butler

A little while later, my peppermints have pants!

My Foodsafe Peppermint Butler (large enough to hold the wrapper) measured 1.5 x 0.549 x 0.724 inches. My snuggier, Non-foodsafe Peppermint Butler measured 1.250 x 0.549 x 0.724 inches.

More pictures in my previous post.

Peppermint Butler

Once upon a time, I saw some starlight mints at a local CVS store.

“HOLY SMOKES THEY LOOK LIKE PEPPERMINT BUTLER,” I exclaimed.

From that day on, I decided to turn those mints into butlers, by 3D printing them some tiny pants.

The pants came in two sizes: foodsafe and non-foodsafe.

Foodsafe Peppermint Butler

Foodsafe Peppermint Butler

Non-foodsafe Peppermint Butler

Non-foodsafe Peppermint Butler

I painted faces on the Foodsafe Peppermint Butler.

The Non-foodsafe Peppermint Butler? Well, he’s a bit more naked…

getting dressed

getting dressed

Here’s some instructions to make your own.

Introduction

I had theorized in my previous post that it was possible to easily 3D print an enzyme structure given a Protein Data Bank (PBD) file. Now, a month and many iterations later, I was finally able to print restriction enzyme Fok1 [PDB ID:1fok], bound to a strand of DNA. I had not anticipated the problems of 3D-printing such a complex structure when I first started this expedition, I now have a very robust and simple way of printing these structures.

3D printed Fok1 in hand

Result

3D-printed Fok1

The printed model, Fok1 [PDB ID:1fok], is in Sculpteo’s white plastic, and is approximately 4.8cm x 4.0cm x 4.3cm. It has a slight coarse and grainy texture, but still retains tiny details like arrowheads on the model. One factor that surprised me is the model’s flexibility. Whereas my previous printed models were rigid, this printed protein strand has spring like behavior in certain areas and can withstand some serious stretching.

Method Summary

My goal was to optimize simplicity in the PDB-to-3D-model methodology. This means, I wanted minimal manual adjustment of vertices to the PDB render. On top of that, I wanted to print a ribbon style model, which was more challenging to print than a mesh based model, due to its thin components.

I started by rendering the Fok1 [PBD ID:1fok] in Chimera. Chimera conveniently can export the model in a STL format, perfect for 3D printing. Before exporting, I thickened the model to meet minimum thinness requirements. Finally, I uploaded the STL to Sculpteo to print.

Sculpteo Render

Fok1 model on Sculpteo

Method Details

  1. Import PBD file into Chimera, via either a fetching of the file from PDB or a custom PDB file.
  2. Select the chains containing DNA or substrate and hide the atom and bond models. The atom and bond models typically are too thin to be printed, without more finessing.

  1. Select the remaining ribbon model and adjust the ribbon model attributes in Tools>Depiction>Ribbon Style Editor. The ribbon model, as is, is too thin to be printed. All attributes need to be thickened. The following is the setting I used for my Fok1 model.

Ribbon Style Editor Settings

  1. Export the scene to an STL and then upload the model to Sculpteo for printing. Sculpteo offers a beautiful, almost-real-time printability check of the model, for fast design feedback turnaround times.

Caveats

The major problems I encountered was having structures too thin to be printed. I initially tried to print with Shapeways. However, the first ~10 iterations didn’t even pass their manual checking stage. Printing a wirely protein structure is definitely pushing the boundaries of 3D printing capabilities. I eventually decided to switch to Sculpteo because of their significantly faster turnaround times. Sculpteo was awesome and definitely delivered.

[updated: 3D-Printed Enzyme – Proof of Concept]

Introduction

While animating a short for the 2011 MIT iGem team, I came up with the idea to 3D print enzymes from the vast number of structure-characterized proteins in the RCSB Protein Data Bank (PDB). There are lots of slick software out there to render the PDB files into gorgeous 3D models. Exporting those models to be 3D-printing compatible is only a few clicks away.

ecoRV

EcoRV [PDB ID: 1RVA]

Methods

The simplest approach is to use USCF Chimera to render a protein from PDB. Chimera can export the protein into an STL file, which can be uploaded to Shapeways or other 3D printing vendors to print.

While Chimera renders ribbon diagrams very beautifully, it lacks more sophisticated mesh-based renderings and user customization. Molecular Maya can be a good alternative. It harnesses all the customization power of Maya, while easily importing PDB files. To go the Molecular Maya route, proteins can be exported into OBJ files to upload to Shapeways. Currently, Molecular Maya does not render ribbon diagrams or secondary structure.

ecoRV

ecoRV rendered with mMaya [PDB ID: 1RVA]

Gallery

DNA ligase

DNA ligase [PDB ID: 1DGS]

EcoRI

EcoRI [PDB ID: 1ERI]