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Toward Economical 3d Bioprinters For High School Science Laboratories
An economical benchtop 3D bioprinter with < $300 price point is being designed, built, and tested for ubiquitous deployment and use in high school science laboratories. This device enables students to 3D print structures from soft materials – including living cells – in Liquid-Like Solid (LLS) media to create artifacts of educational interest, particularly for biological sciences, that cannot be easily fabricated through conventional 3D printing or other means. To benchmark and validate the prototype bioprinter’s functions, a calibration object is needed that illustrates key capabilities. The proposed 3D bioprinter calibration object, 3DJelly, takes < 30 minutes to print in LLS and includes the following critical bioprinting features: 1) joining of two parts, 2) capsular structure, 3) controlled feature spacing, 4) modulated layer thickness, 5) one structure encapsulated in another, 6) curved tubes, and 7) mid-print material change. These attributes were demonstrated by creating the 3DJelly bioprinting calibration object on an established bioprinter at the University of Florida.