I met Zach Hoeken Smith at one of my first Hive76 events. I donated to the pledge drive to buy a MakerBot Cupcake CNC and extruder. Once the drive was successful and 3DPO built, Hive76 held a workshop to learn how to design and print with SketchUp and the MakerBot. Our instructor was MakerBot co-founder Zach himself. Afterwards, everyone went out to West Philly for some Ethiopian food. It was a nice time. I haven’t seen him since, so I was surprised to hear from fellow member Jordan Miller that Zach had left Makerbot and was living in China. I reached out to Zach for a chat and here’s what I learned about my favorite hardware innovator. (more…)
One of our core members, Jordan Miller, has just published a scientific paper using RepRap 3D printing technology to engineer living tissues for regenerative medicine. I’ll give you a rundown of the science and a step-by-step guide of how Jordan got to this great spot in his career. Jordan is quick to point out that this is work that would not have been possible 5 years ago, or without the help of RepRap, Hive76, and this wonderful city of Philadelphia.
There are other labs around the world that are attempting what Jordan and the rest of the team at UPenn and MIT have been working towards. The end goal of regenerative medicine research is engineered tissues and replacement organs for treatment of human disease. As Science news says,
Imagine a world where if your heart or kidneys failed, you wouldn’t have to endure an agonizing, possibly futile wait for a donor whose organ your body might reject. Instead, a doctor would simply take cells from your own body and use them to “grow” you a new organ.
Other lines of research are attempting to 3D print directly with living cells and gel. These so-called “bioprinting” approaches involve loading cells and gel in syringes to be used as feedstock to create a structure from scratch. The problem is that healthy liver cells, for example, usually die of starvation (lack of nutrients) and suffocation (lack of oxygen) while enduring the slow 3D printing process.
Enter Jordan and his innovation: since vasculature provides the lifeblood to resident cells, why not focus on the vasculature first?
Jordan and the rest of the research team at UPenn and MIT have developed a new way to create vasculature for living tissues. This 4 step process involves: 1) 3D printing a network of sugar filaments, 2) surrounding it with living cells in a gel, 3) dissolving away the sugar to leave behind a vascular network for 4) the delivery of nutrients and oxygen. He accomplished this with a custom built 3D printer, extruder and control software.
Here’s a step-by-step of Jordan’s many year process:
- Get a crazy idea to link sugar and vasculature when comparing the interior of a 3D print to a capillary network.
- Get a PhD in bioengineering
- Move to Philadelphia
- Join a hackerspace
- Get introduced to 3D printing, MakerBot and RepRap
- Assemble your first MakerBot
- Invent a heated build platform to dry your sugar while printing.
- Add a heater to the Frostruder so you can print molten sugar.
- Assemble a customized RepRap Mendel that fits your new extruder.
- Get help from your hackerspace to properly control your pneumatic extrusion.
- Work for months perfecting recipes and methods for printing vasculature.
- Write it all up in a research paper and submit!
You can read the Penn press release about this awesome science, an overview from Science News, or the full paper. A more detailed post about the hardware used in this project will follow and soon you’ll be able to make your own sugar extruder. (It prints chocolate too!)
Last Night We started the build of another one of these box-modded MendelMax printers. With extra hands we got the whole frame, the feet, all the motors, and a large number of brackets mounted and aligned in just a few hours. Even Morfin was surprised how quickly it all came together.
This design has already led to the design of the first printable upgrade: Compact Y-Rod holders. As you can see, this part was derived from MendelMax 1.0, 1.5, and some awesome rod clamps by Jonas Kuehling.
Now the build volume actually surpasses a MendelMax, sitting at 265x247x220 mm. And see how flat those 0.4mm printed layers are? That’s because this aluminum bot is super rigid, giving fast and accurate prints. Sweet!
If you can come up with a good name for this bot, I’d definitely appreciate it. Post in the comments if you feel inspired.
Well, hot on the heels of our last RepRap MendelMax Build, I’ve been able to redesign the MendelMax to be a rigid rectangle… the upshot is the build volume is increased (especially in Z) without the footprint increasing. The build volume of this baby is 265x233x190 mm (or ~10″x9″x7.5″). The build assembly goes much faster, too.
Come on by Hive76 starting this Wednesday night to see or help put together another one. If you’ve been wondering about our upcoming 3D Printer Build and Operation Workshop with NextFab Studio, this is a great way to see what the fuss is all about.
Here’s a video of this box design Modified MendelMax printer on it’s first print. It’s been chugging along for a solid few days now, no problems so far. It’s printing so well, it’s time to build another one. Come join us!
Monday – MMMM Microcontroller Madness
Tuesday – DIY Music Night
Wednesday – Open House
Thursday – Game Night Featuring Tetris Arm Wrestling Tournament
Friday – PTW Gala demonstration (offsite)
Events at Hive76 Monday through Thursday start at 7pm and
ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Friday Gala Ticketing information available here.
So we are running a quick workshop to show members and others how to use these new tools. Stop by if you are curious. It will be like a mini open house.
Sunday, 3/25, 2pm
RSVP with a comment if you’re coming. See you there!
We got Matt Wettergreen’s MendelMax up and printing in two days. Thanks to all those at Hive76 who helped out with the build, especially Chris, PJ, Brendan, and Rob! Here’s a timelapse from the first day:
Below is a video of the finished bot printing with the latest Marlin firmware (smooth acceleration and fast travel times)! It turns out PLA sticks to a heated aluminum bed provided in the MendelMax kit. Wow. Completely Awesome. I couldn’t believe how little of the heat from the aluminum bed actually radiates away (you can only barely feel the heat an inch off the bed at 75 degrees celsius). That’s a huge feature.
MendelMax is the new rapid-to-assemble Mendel variant based on an extruded aluminum frame. Very rigid, very nice looking. Stop on by to check it out!
11 am – 8 pm
Saturday March 3rd @ Hive76
Sure they took 30 min to print two, but if my time is worthless (now that I’m unemployed) then they are nearly free!