Converting 3D Tomogram scans of Phytoplankton into functional 3D printed manipulatives

These are some early test prints from a new collaboration with Colomban de Vargas, Research Director at the CNRS France, and leader of the EPEP – Evolution of Pelagic Ecosystems & Protists – team at the Station Biologique de Roscoff.  I’ve been taking these high resolution 3D scans of microscopic phytoplankton, hollowing them and creating scientific manipulative that can be opened so that students can examine their interior cellular components.  The blue prints are early tests done on my Ultimaker 2 PLA filament based printer, printed at 60 microns resolution.  The clear prints were done on our new Form Labs Form 1 SLA printer at the IMRC, with a much higher 25 micron resolution and very nice transparency / durability factors.   The next steps are to print the interior components and the other half of the outer shell, as well as finalizing connector mechanisms that allow the two halves to join together and pull apart when needed.  Check out the video and photos below to getter a better visualization of the project.