Design and Prototyping of 3D Printed Protein Models for Education

I made a new tool for generating 3D-printable, unfixed models of proteins with separable pieces, so researchers can physically manipulate the proteins they investigate. My method outputs models that are precise and neat, have an optimized structure, are affordable, and have detachable snap connectors in customized locations. I created a detailed guide which walks through how to bride protein gaps, clean up features, create hollows, and custom color the models at home. I also designed strong, user-friendly snap-fit connectors that can be 3D printed as one piece.

3D printed protein models
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Self-dyed COVID-19 protease models
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Preliminary dye experimentation
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Self-dyed snap fit connector prototyping
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Self-dyed snap fit connector prototyping
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Self-dyed DNA bases
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This project was part of a 12-week research fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Taylor in which I developed a process to 3D print affordable, flexible, separable, color coded protein models for hands-on pedagogical use. I designed testing structures and fixtures in Solidworks for calculating feature thickness ratios, abstracted information from limited resources to apply cost-reduction techniques in Chimera, MeshLab, and MeshMixer, invented the first snap connectors that can be 3D printed as a single unit, and developed a rapid technique to give vibrant, uniform, and durable color to proteins using my background knowledge in textile manipulation.

User friendly snap fit connector separation
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User friendly snap fit connector insertion
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Snap fit connector design
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Protein editing in Chimera software
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Adding protein hollows in Meshmixer software
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Polygon reduction in Meshlab software
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Mixing dyes for testing
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Dye prototyping process
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Dyeing procedure
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