3D Printer Involvement


I have a 3d printer that extrudes plastic into 3d models, and i was wondering what kind of models we could make if, lets say everyone prints a cube’s structure. Then we could have all these sections put together into a huge model. This would allow a HUGE incite into how all of these things fit together. It might be a large undertaking, but what do you guys think???

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Excellent idea. You personally own a 3D printer? wow. 

In fact we have been trying exactly what you said in collaboration with our friends at MIT media lab. It is somewhat stalled now because we are so tightly occupied, but we are going to push this forward again soon enough. Below is a post on our facebook page regarding a use of 3D printer. 

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yeah the challenge would be converting the actual 3D model into a sterio lithography file (.stl), then getting all od the files together, but not only could we just print the nueron we could pint multiple neurons and see how the stuctures fit together from there.

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A while back someone from our building (we’re a whole building full of neuroscience labs) wanted to print a 3D model of several neurons.  They decided one neuron would be too spindly/not that interesting, but that several together (they were talking about doing it in some sort of clear block for the sake of support) would be beautiful.  They wanted to do something similar to this  .  We gave them some sort of file that they then gave to their animator who was then going to convert them for use with the 3D printer.  We haven’t heard anything since though.  When I get back to the office in January I’ll see if I can find out what happened with that/how they converted the files we gave them.

Also you have a steriolithography 3D printer?  Did you build it?  And Awesome!  I’ve only seen the ink jet/powder type of 3D printer in use, but the youtube videos of the sterolyth type are mad cool.  The whole object rising from the vat of goo is a much more dramatic than reaching into the powder to find your thing.

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Yes I have built a Makerbot Thing-O-Matic, it extrudes a thin layer of plastic at a time while a object is built right in front of your eyes, unfortunately it only has a build space of 10x10x10 centimeters, so we may have to print each part a cube at a time, exactly like we are doing in the software yet in the physical world! At the moment i am tinkering around trying to make a printer that can print much much larger objects at a time with a larger build platform If I’m successful i will post the plans as well so people can do the same, (plus I kind of promised my Tech teacher a printer anyway.) Let me know if we could get a movement started on this it would be amazing, especially for not only EyeWire but for 3D printing technology as well.

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cool.  i am in the architecture field and have access to a few 3d printers and associated software.  A professor of mine also built the thing-o-matic.  True stereolithography printers are awesome but being so high end, the plastic-extruding or silica powder-based ones are much more common.  i have also noticed the appearance of more and more web-based print services with many different available media.  the actual conversion process to .stl shouldn’t be bad, but getting all the geometries “water tight” may take some finesse.  anyway, I am interested in this application as well and would be glad to participate on the software side getting models prepped to go if an organized movement was possible or desirable.  

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Yeah I am definetly intested in getting this movement started, and would be happy to take the lead on it if others are interested I think we could get this going. I think this will be great for multiple reasons, perhaps if any eyewire staff wold be willing to steer us in the right direction if we are do do this with correspondace with the leaders of eyewire. It would be a great spin off project I think.

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I am really sorry for the dumb question and hopefully I don’t ruin anyones efforts or ideas… but what could be done with such a huge plastic neuron? That is not a rhetorical question - I really have no clue, what one can do with it.

And I guess that this model really has to be huge, since such a delicate model won’t survive really long with less than… don’t know… 5 mm (0.2 inch) diameter on the thinnest spot? Is this realistic?

(I would like to do some more math to get an idea of the final size of a printed neuron - but I am not sure what the real sizes are. Are 100 nm diameter and 1 mm length a good guess? In this case the printed one would be 50 m in size… Sorry for the metric system, my dear american friends :smiley: )
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Awesome paperweight!

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Im thinking that we would not just print one neuron we would print several, then we can see how the fit together and every thing, plus, as this idea develops Im sure more people will have ideas too, and of course you would indeed have the coolest paperweight ever…

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This is awesome! We should make this happen!

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Talking about 3D printing I can say that this is the best innovation for now. Because it opens wider opportunities to all of us. Now 3D printing is maybe costing too much, but in the future, after about 3-4 years when this thing will be available for everyone I think people will no go to fix theirs broken things but they will create another one.

The side that everyone can use different material to print model shows us that it is really universal thing. If we now can create real guns just from  weapons 3D model, that some time ago was 2D model.. to cookies to eat for a Christmas..or clothes for fashion shows.. or even now it is 3D printing pen ! What`s next ?

Also, I am going to buy simple Computer Keyboard and print it because I am preparing a presentation about the 3D printing benefits on IT sphere and want to have just for real example. I want to show that everyone could have their own created keyboard, have its original product. And I will print it at my public library who got 3D printer :) I am so happy about this ! :) 
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I actually just got my 3D printer, its an FDM not SLS, however i could be neat just to take one of the cubes and print it and see what it looks like. I’d be interested to hear other ideas that I can try once I finish assembly. Plus its cheap enough that it doesn’t matter if it’s not useful once printed.

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See Nowadays we can get printers that huge volume of print size take for example you can print huge size prints from 3dstuffmaker Mega Prusa of 290x270x220mm, Creatorbot of 250 x 250 x 450 mm, look at the link

https://www.3dprintersonlinestore.com/fastest-high-precision-3d-printer. Are you looking more than this print area

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Cube to mesh file (3D format)?

Well we’re not currently printing stuff, but if you’re interested I’ll bet we could get you a cell you need to try out :slight_smile:

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Hi everyone ! As we were talking about it in the chat this week. I thought I would up this topic. (tell me if it’s better to open a new one?)

With evil cubes and other interesting one like autapses or buttons or even simple one to print it would be great show the variety of shapes we encounter in eyewire.

It gave me a whole bunch of ideas about 3D printing and eyewire like:

  • printing neighbours cubes to show how we progress
  • printing a whole cube with transparent plastic to show the neuron trace by not printing it (we can even fill it with a colored water to show it after)
  • mark cubes as favorites once traced so that we can view them later and if correct get a 3D file printable on a 3D printer
  • offer them as rewards for accuracy challenges or evils cubes challenges ?
  • make people participate at events and print one or a few cubes and with magnets link them to make the entire cell !

And as I was at the Maker Faire in Nantes and there were some sciences booth with sometimes online projects it would be great to show people (and potentially new players) at events like those.

Anyway tell me what do you think and if possible I would like to try to print some cubes if you can give some files to print. I can access 3D printers from time to time (I don’t have mine yet) and I would love to give it a try and show you the results !

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I think we should reopen this. Since I first brought up the idea, 3D printing had exploded and I think it’s much more relavent to this project. I think it would it would be well worth the effor to start this.

Where should we begin? :slight_smile: I have A few printers in my house that I can access anytime.

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I know there are whole neurons available for printing here: http://3dprint.nih.gov/collections/neuroscience But to my knowledge there aren’t any single cubes available. Would be cool though!

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In theory it is doable but with the method i have in my mind extremely time consuming.

step 1. find the cube you like.

step 2. since we can’t save favourite cubes yet everything needs to be done each time you find a cube you like.

step 3. screenshot each and every one of the 250 2D slides (once you’re finished colouring the neuron in.)

step 4. insert each of the screenshots into a 3D software like 3ds max/maya/hudini/cinema4d into different “planes” and stack/place them one after another as close as possible to each other, don’t forget the slides are μm’s so large space(s) between them will decrease model accuracy/quality.

step 5. model the neuron from the coloured parts of the screenshots out of NURBS/editable mesh/polygon following the slides. (you’ll need to hide/delete each slide once you have modeled the outline of the neuron per slide).

step 6. create a separate cube model in the dimensions of the model created in steps 4+5.

export them in to 2 different models. You want to 3D print the neuron from a coloured plastic of your choice and the cube model out of transparent plastic so you can see the inside. You then need to place the neuron printed model inside. (either you’ve created the cube model hollow or happy emptying it out :stuck_out_tongue:). you’ll probably need to either cut one side of the cube model or have printed it into 2 parts which you can glue after.

voila 3d printed cube neuron. As an extra detail if you can find “appropriate” material you can try 3D printing and/or printing a “slide” and placing it inside.