At the University of California San Francisco's DeRisi Lab, Joseph DeRisi and his team has been working on investigating viruses such as SARS, Avian Flu and fighting against diseases. DeRisi is known for his passion for viruses and new techniques, the possibilities of 3D printer make it one of the most useful research tool in the lab.
"Scientists are constantly in need of specialized apparatuses," DeRisi says. "There's hardly a microscope in our building that does not have some 3D-printed part on it."
The lab's Stratasys Dimension UPrint 3D Printer has been used to make cheap tools and customized parts that are especially useful in a laboratory environment, such as custom pipet racks, objective cases and gel combs etc.
Besides, 3D printer allows DeRisi to manufacture key pieces of equipment in-house inexpensively. "You could go to a catalog and order a highly specialized holder. But it's ridiculous that that costs $50 and that we can print it for a dollar," says the researcher. The lab can 3D printed a centrifuge for just $25 while a supplier may charge them for $350.
DeRisi makes also 3D virus models using 3D printer for training program. These visual tools encourages greater understanding of all kinds of viruses than text alone. Students get then access to CAD software and 3D printer to design and print their own parts.
DeRisi is working on a paper describing the use of 3D printing in research environments. The lab has created a repository containing free available models in .stl format appropriate for printing on 3D printers. You can download or post your own 3D models.
If you are interested in listening Joseph DeRisi's lecture "The Virus Hunter's Toolkit" click the link here. In the video DeRisi uses 3D-printed virus models as a tool for demonstrating different sorts of viruses.
Images credit: DeRisi Lab
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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