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In Celebration of Open Source Lab Equipment and 3D printing

We are big believers in the power of 3D printing to allow labs and scientists to share their inventions around the world, making experiments easier and scientific progress faster. We bought our first MakerBot in April of 2012, and our current “Fleet” of 3D printers at Backyard Brains now numbers three (two MakerBot Replicator Originals (wooden), and one MakerBot Replicator 2X).

We use our 3D printers for both design and production. Our Manipulator,  RoachScope, and Completo are made to order hot off the 3D printing platform! We have all our 3D designs and .stl files available on the product pages, and occasionally an enterprising gearhead scientist decides she/he doesn’t need to buy our tools and can just build the equipment from our files. We like that, as scientists being scientists, they often tweak the inventions for their own needs, using their creativity and hands to create something new.

Enter Tom Baden, a close colleague of ours who is part of the founding team of of TReND in Africa and also a neuroscience post-doc at the Centre of Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) in Tuebingen, Germany. He has often used our equipment for his outreach in Uganda and has a bit of the gearhead bug inside his brain. Over the past month, he tweaked our manipulator design to

1)    have a vertical z-axis (rather than our 45° z-axis)

2)    be able to accommodate micro-servo motors controlled by Arduino (work in progress)

Being a rational Europoean scientist, he converted the design to use metric screws rather than the silly imperial screws we use. Look at what he came up with!

(with micro-servo) – printed by Tom on his K8200

(without micro-servo) – printed at Backyard Brains on the Replicator 1

His design is now available for you as well!! He posted all his design files on thingiverse, and you can now tweak his modification too. Hack away intrepid inventors and scientists!

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