Build your own bio-printer

(Credit: BioCurious)

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.

You can find the project on Instructables here.

More on: 3d, Diy, How To, Organ, Printer

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