Do a web search on 3D printing and COVID, and you’ll find endless examples of the 3D printing industry (both commercial and hobbyist) mobilizing to create personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the severe shortages that many countries face. If you have any experience with 3D printing, helping out is as simple as downloading the design files (such as this one for face masks or this one for face shields), sending them to the printer, and waiting 3+ hours for the printer to do its job.(*)
So when Tim of Adirondack oral and maxillofacial surgery contacted Zak Robinson, my colleague over in the Physics department, and lamented his inability to secure PPE for his staff, Zak and I got to work. Both of us use 3D printing in our teaching and research activities at SUNY Brockport, and when the pandemic shut down the campus for the remainder of the semester, we each brought home our printers so we could carry on with our making.
I’ve been working on a set of 3D printed molecules for studying point groups. The set below contains 12 molecules that represent some of the point groups commonly taught in undergraduate inorganic chemistry classes. The structures are made using Mathematica’s curated data sets and a few molecules pulled from other sources. I split the set into two series for printing, each taking about 3 h to print.
I’ve got my 3D printer, a Prusa MK2, up-and-running in my home office. I followed these instructions for making a mask and this design for the face shield. Both designs are reported to be printable without the use of supports or other fancy settings, so I loaded them on the build plate and off I went. After 5 hours of printing (3 for the mask, 2 for the shield) I ended up with this.
I’m surprised at how well these designs printed with no modifications needed. I’ve got some temperature calibration to tweak because both designs have overhangs that printed poorly but only affected the aesthetics of the final object. Double sided tape worked just fine to keep the document transparency in place. I’m now ready to fight the coronavirus … or clean the litter box.
Do you know what a film canister is? It’s a small plastic container that used to contain film. Do you know what film is? If you don’t, chances are you were born after 2003, which is about the time when digital photography overtook film photography. It’s interesting that the container that was used to store film has actually outlived the film itself; you can buy packs of film canisters on Amazon for about $0.50 a piece. They are useful for storage, art projects and film canister rockets.
I’ve just gotten back from another wonderful BCCE conference (that’s Biennial Conference on Chemical Education) which was held at Notre Dame. It was a great opportunity to catch up with some friends and colleagues that I’ve missed since leaving CSU last year to join the College at Brockport.
I presented some of the work I’ve been doing on 3D printed periodic tables and will blog about their construction and use in the near future. There were some folks in the audience who wanted to get started right away with the objects, so I’ve posted them here on my website. You can download a zip file that contains 19 tables (about 3 MB).
The zip file contains the following periodic trends:
exceptions to the aufbau principle
absolute (Pearson) hardness
For the first four, there are four different sizes
132×76 $mm^2$ table with title, f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks. These objects take about 3 hours to print.
150×21 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks. These objects take about 2.5 hours to print.
108×36 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks. These objects take about 2 hours to print.
60×24 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and no symbols on the blocks. These objects take about 45 minutes to print.
As I build a collection of posts and materials for 3D-printed periodic tables, I will collect them here, so if you have interest in this project, bookmark that page.