Bio printer

Designed and developped in Fablab U. de Chile

Technology - machines & tools Industry & innovation Science & biology Recycling & upcycling

Its is a multi-material printer made with a Makebot Replicator 2 hacked with an Arduino and the Marlin firmware.

An engine with a trapezoidal screw pushes a car through a nut, which in turn displaces the plunger of a syringe to drive water in a hose, generating pressure. This motor connects directly to a Prusa 3D printer system, to simplify the use of the machine.

The pressure generated pushes a plunger into another syringe mounted on the head of the printer. In this the material to be printed is deposited. The tip of the syringe has a thread by means of which tips with different diameters can be attached.

The software used for the tests was Repetier Host, modifying speeds and diameters of both the material and the extruder. The materials tested here have been clay, clay and silicone. There is a limitation regarding the volume of the piece to be produced, as well as the viscosity of the material, due to the power of the engine. The tips used were 1, 2 and 2.4 mm, printing speeds between 5 and 30 mm / s, and layer heights between 0.5 and 2 mm.

Technologies used

3D printing Biomaterial

What’s the project story?

The program Ingenieria 2030 was looking for an academic contest that can teach to students new technology while developing their entrepreneurial spirit. As a member of the Fablab team, I worked with Joakin Ugalde, to design and offer to the program a contest where students have to design products with biomaterial using a 3D bioprinter we made. We had discovered the work of Materoim which investigates and gives access to biomaterial recipes for makers eager to invent useful and sustainable products and we knew a teacher who investigates in this area and who was looking for help in this area. The contest was accepted, financed and launched at the end of August for 3 months. Actually, we have 3 main projects :

  • replace plastic used to plant plants by biomaterial container filled with nutrients
  • biodegradable compost
  • kombucha material for a 3D printer

How the workshop was useful?

The workshop was the perfect place to run such contest :

  • we had the skills and materials to hack the 3D printer
  • we had the knowledge to grab the open-source resources
  • we had the networks of makers to collaborate on this topic and create stimulation for students

What’s the project’s greatest success so far?

The adaptation of the 3D printer to use any kind of material. Moreover, we had a great participation of students and the projects exceed our expectations.

What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?

We experiment with different type of materials and make the adjustments required to make it work. It’s exciting.

What’s your vision for the project & next steps?

After the contest, we want to create a digital library of biomaterials accessible open-source to promote it and gather people on this topic. We also want to collaborate with local Fablab such to carry on the investigation and we aim to spread this knowledge and experience through workshops.

How anyone interested can contribute to the project?

Everyone interested in this topic is more than welcome to contact us! We are looking for people with experience or just eager to participate in this new and exciting field.

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