Why should medical facilities get all the fun? A new post on Instructables shows you how to build a machine that lets you print your own organic matter.
Companies such as Organovo are working on 3D-printing human organs from stem cells for the purposes of drug testing and transplant, and a noble use of the technology it is, too. But according to Patrik of biotech hacker group BioCurious, the technology used in bio-printing isn't really all that difficult or out-of-reach.
In fact, if you've ever thought to yourself, "gee, I'd like to try and print some extra skin", now there's a way you can muck about with your very own bio-printer. The group has created a set of Instructables to show you exactly how to make your own at home.
Now, this isn't exactly like building a cable tidy out of some foam or a cardboard tube; you're going to need some engineering know-how and a bit of time.
Materials needed are:
Two laser-head slider mechanisms with stepper motors (preferably matching), scavenged from old CD drives. Cost: a few bucks a piece
- One InkShield kit, with ink cartridge and cartridge holder. Cost: US$57
- Optional: additional HP C6602 inkjet cartridges. Cost: as low at US$17
- Arduino Uno. Cost: US$30
- Two SN754410NE H-Bridge motor drivers. Cost: US$5
- Arduino prototyping shield and/or tiny breadboard. Cost: US$4-21
- Wires, machine screws, standoffs and enclosure. Cost: Free to $$$, depending on how fancy you want to be.
There are seven steps in the process, but some of them are quite fiddly and painstaking, so it's not a one-hour project — and it will help if you know which parts of a printer are which.