Mar 7, 2016 | By Tess

As most of us learnt in school and I’m sure all of us learnt from the animated Mr. DNA in Jurassic Park, DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid molecules, are “the building blocks of life” and are the fundamental part of our existence. In fact, if you were to stretch out the DNA molecules from a single human cell—and to think we have trillions of cells making up our bodies—they would measure nearly 2 meters in length (6.5 feet). To help appreciate and to help others better understand the composition of our own living bodies, and the building blocks of life, Thingiverse maker mkuiper has created a 3D printed folding DNA model kit for any makers to 3D print at home.

What’s more, the DNA kit uploaded by mkuiper has also been designed to be modular, meaning the more pieces you print the longer you can build your DNA strands. Of course, being scaled at approximately 1:50,000,000, you would need a lot of space to 3D print enough DNA models to make up even one cell of your body.

The DNA scale model was created for educational purposes, as mkuipers hopes that his 3D printed DNA strands will help illustrate its structure and makeup, including, base pairing, the classic double helix, and major and minor grooves. The model’s maker also suggests 3D printing the various parts in different colors to effectively demonstrate and differentiate between bases and backbone.

The 3D printable kit includes .STL files for various elements of DNA including an Adenine(A) base, Thymine(T) base, Guanine(G) base, and Cytosine(C) base, as well as PO3 and 2 O phosphate groups, which can be used to cap the ends of the double helix.

Once printed, the individual pieces should be rid of all their supports in order for them to fit together properly. As mkuiper explains, each of the backbone pieces should snap easily together with the backbone pieces “by gently pushing the split pin of the base into the hole of the ribose on the backbone.” From there, to put the DNA together in its various structures is quite simple, as mkuiper explains the steps in detail on his Thingiverse page. If you are 3D printing the DNA parts on an extrusion printer, it is suggested to print the bases quite flat so that the pins to connect the hydrogen-bonds remain strong.

The 3D printed modular DNA model created by mkuiper would be the perfect addition to any science lover’s collection, or even to the classroom, where children could play with the model to understand what their own bodies are made up of.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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