Friday, October 25, 2019

DIYbio Orbital Shaker Gets Circuitboard Upgrade

Our original opensource 3D printed mini-DIYbio orbital shaker has been made a couple times by several people around the world.

While nothing makes us happier than seeing people making, enjoying, and improving on our designs we were really excited to see a Florida-based engineer Pierre Baillargeon design and build a proper, custom-made circuitboard to accommodate all the electronics of our shaker design.

These boards would also work with our larger V2 shaker which uses the same electronics as V1.

The board provides mounting for a stepper motor controller, an Arduino Pro Mirco, as well as connections for the shaker's peripheral devices (the stepper itself, a potentiometer, DC power jack, and switch). 

You can see the before-and-after (below) of what the insides of the shaker look like with and without the circuitboard. To Pierre's credit, even his prototype shaker's electronics are tidier than the mess of wires we ended up with.

Opensource is all about sharing and in many ways, motivating others to take the next step. We're not engineers by trade, but seeing how nice that circuitboard came out gives us inspiration to look into KiCAD and give designing and making boards like this a try. We have lots of projects that could benefit from this next step.

Thanks to Pierre, at least as far as our orbital shaker design is concerned, there is now a circuitboard taking care of it. Thanks Pierre!

 The design is available on GitHub here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Teaching Large 3D Printing Classes: Tips and Tricks

Teaching large classes 3D design and 3D printing skills can be a challenge especially if you're teaching at a school or university and students might not be particularly attentive to traditional lecturing approaches.

Having helped teach a large university class of over 70 students, I wanted to write down a few methods used to make the class a success to serve as a reference for myself in the future and also to help anyone who happens across this post.

Class Objectives

The objective was to teach students with no 3D design or 3D printing background how to build a 3D model of a product design sketch they developed in a previous class in SketchUp, set it up for 3D printing using slicer software (Cura, Colido), and use 3D printers (Ender 3, Ender 5, Colido 3.0) to print out their designs.

Projects also had to be prepared for presentation, with students using cardboard and other craft supplies to create a setting for their 3D printed model that helped illustrate its purpose and use.

Setting Up the Class

All 70+ students had their own sketches from their previous course. But the students were placed into 14 groups with 3-7 students in each group for the 3D design and 3D printing class.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Custom HID: Mini-Editing Keyboard

August 4, 2019 | ATL

We've finished up another HID (hardware interface device) and posted it up on Thingiverse here. This time it's a mini-keyboard used for editing text on a smartphone or tablet computer. It's meant to be used singlehandedly so closely resembles a remote control.

It is driven by an Arduino Pro Micro. These small boards are great for HID projects because the processor supports USB connections. The code uses Arduino's keyboard modifiers.

Once we got the code working for a couple of keys, it was real easy to elaborate and tune the code to do exactly what we wanted.

The keys/code we used include: arrows, shift+left/right arrows (for selecting text), copy/paste, undo/redo, home, select all, and delete.

We can imagine a lot of other possibilities for HIDs in the future after seeing how easy this project was. A previous HID project we worked on was a giant, physical volume knob for one of our desktop computers available here on Thingiverse

Not only is this a great solution for creating custom HID's to solve specific workflow problems, when coupled with 3D printing it can also be a solution for users who are unable to use common commercially available HIDs (standard keyboards and mice) because of physical limitations.

Follow on Instagram here. We also put all of our 3D printed models online for free at here

Monday, July 22, 2019

Video: 3D Printed DIYbio Magnetic Stirrer V2 Overview + Assembly

July 22, 2019 | ATL

This video provides a demonstration and assembly instructions for our V2 magnetic stirrer.

Follow on Instagram here. We also put all of our 3D printed models online for free at here

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Video: 3D Printed DIYbio Centrifuge V3 Overview

July 20, 2019 | ATL

Here is a video overview of version 3 of our 3D printed DIYbio centrifuge. Check out the diagram below to see how the parts fit together. The video goes over the wiring and friction welding.

The assembly diagram and wiring diagram appear after the break...

Friday, July 19, 2019

3D Printed DIYbio Magnetic Stirrer Version 2

July 19, 2019 | ATL

Version 2.0 of our 3D printed DIYbio magnetic stirrer is now up on Thingiverse here.  Parts, wiring instructions, and other information is all included, just follow the link.

We've been using our version 1 magnetic stirrer a lot recently and have been using it on and off since we first built it years ago.

It was the first piece of 3D printed DIYbio equipment we ever made. But it was time for an upgrade.


We needed something that was not only a lot bigger and more powerful, but also something that could be better controlled in terms of rotor speed and support more weight.

A big problem with our original design was anything heavy on the platform caused it to sag and make contact with the fan and magnets underneath. This impeded operation and risked ruining the fan.

This new design is very solid with support going from the platform all the way through the machine, down to its foot pads and onto the table beneath. There is no way for the platform to sag because of weight now.

We are using a 12V DC motor with a 3D printed magnet rotor designed to take x6 13mmx2.5mm neodymium magnets. To control the motor's speed we're using a cheap motor controller from Shenzhen.

We've also redesigned the stir bar. The smaller one still works really well for smaller containers. But the more volume you are stirring or the thicker a container's base is the larger your stir bar's magnets need to be.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

3D Printed DIYbio Centrifuge V 3.0

June 20, 2019 | ATL

Version 3 of our open source 3D printed centrifuge is now up on Thingiverse. We're still making some minor improvements but the design as is can be used.

The design has the rotor below the platform and is better isolated from the electronics.

The microswitch that shuts off power when the lid is opened is activated by a plunger which is located just slightly below the top platform. This prevents the switch from being accidentally activated when the lid is opened.

The hinges have been made stronger and the front bolt-latch has been offset to make it easier to insert and retract the bolt during use. The picture above is slightly different than the STL files on Thingiverse which have been improved since we built the above prototype.

Like version 2, it's run on 12V DC, with a 12V DC motor, a rocker switch, DC adapter plug, and a microswitch.