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Weekend Project: Get Scientific with this 3D Printed Open Source Laboratory Rocker

Picture of Tyler Koslow
by Tyler Koslow
Jul 29, 2018

Need some affordable scientific equipment to experiment and make a breakthrough discovery? This 3D printed open source laboratory rocker is a terrific tool for biological and molecular mixing applications.

In the scientific setting, a laboratory rocker is used as a mixing device for various biological and molecular applications. It consists of a tray mounted on top of a base, which contains the electronics and motor that control the speed and tilt angles of the platform.

It’s a necessary tool for various scientific experiments, but this piece of equipment tends to cost a pretty penny. That might be why one of the most popular 3D models currently on Thingiverse is an open source laboratory rocker.

This 3D printed lab rocker was designed by biomedical engineer and designer Akshay Dhamankar. It’s a variable speed, two-dimensional device that moves back and forth to create waves in liquid samples at mild to moderately aggressively rate. The design uses a changeable apparatus rack that can either hold a test tube or beaker.

While this 3D printed lab device sounds a bit difficult to put together, Dhamankar lays everything out in a few simple steps. If you’re a researcher on a budget who wants to spruce up your wet lab, bring some science home, or just take on a fun and educational project, this open source laboratory rocker is worth a look.

The creator of this project lists a number of applications that this lab rocker can be utilized for, including biological and molecular mixing, aggressive agitation of a biological mixture, PCB etching via Ferric Chloride bath, and even for mixing paint and thinner.

“It is my sincere hope that my design and contribution will help out many of the research personnel, small labs, wet labs etc. who plan to incorporate laboratory equipment like this with a tight budget,” the designer writes on Thingiverse.

3D Printed Open Source Laboratory Rocker: What you Need & How to Built it

The purpose of this open source project is to provide access to researchers and scientists on a tight budget, so the components needed to build your own lab rocker aren’t too costly. Aside from your 3D printer and material, here’s what else you need:

The schematics for the circuits and Arduino code are available in a Google Drive folder.

There are 10 different STL files you’ll have to 3D print for this project, which the designer recommends using 25 percent infill for. Once you’ve printed the parts out, the rest of the assembly process is relatively straightforward.

Following along schematics and provided photos, you need to connect all of the electronic components and situate them inside of the 3D printed base.

Dhamankar uses super glue to mount the skateboard bearings in the various slots that are embedded in the 3D printed parts. He also suggests using a thick silicone rubber sheet (3mm) on the surface of the ‘Single Piece Beaker Tray’ to act as an anti-slip mat.

Since this project is open source, all of the 3D models and product photographs are available to all. If you need more information on this project, you can contact Dhamankar directly through Thingiverse.

License: The text of "Weekend Project: Get Scientific with this 3D Printed Open Source Laboratory Rocker" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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