Rick Pannen has put up two super sweet posts on his tumblr “Phlegmatic prototyping” about creating a good 3D model of a protein involved in Alzheimer’s Disease. Rick writes that his friend is pursuing a PhD in chemistry and wanted the molecule model for research purposes.
Little problem: the data for the molecule was just a bunch of points in space, and Rick’s friend really needed a model of the surface of the molecule. The open-source program BallView is perfect for this job. If you set that program to “SES”, it generates a surface model using all the atom data. Rick writes that the model below actually didn’t run too well through ReplicatorG, but repairing in NetFabb did the trick.
Now the interesting stuff. Using a custom 3D printer built with MakerBot MK6 extruders, he was able to make the molecule. Of course because of the shape, he had to use some support structure. Here’s what the molecule looked like in black.
The next step was to sand blast the model and cover it in white paint. Then, tediously, to add in some color coding for different atoms: Red = Oxygen, Blue = Nitrogen, Yellow = Sulfur.
It doesn’t look like the model is available on Thingiverse yet, but here’s hoping Rick throws it up sometime soon! There are several excellent related Things already up, which you can find under the Learning category on Thingiverse. Remember to categorize all your new uploads carefully. It helps people find these resources quickly and easily.