Direct 3D printing of sterile parts




While most laboratories in the developed world are well-stocked with insturments and basic equipment, this is not a global universal. There are many settings in which laboratory supplies and equippment are needed, but either unavailable, unaffordable or both.


  • Test for growth on richer media than LB :

    • Blood, serum, chocolate agar

    • SOB

    • AYE (ACES Yeast Extract broth)

    • grow with CO2, in “candle can” + anaerobically

    • stimulate w/ known germinants to induce spore germination

    • let sit in broth on bench for a few weeks, then plate for CFU

  • Plate onto

    • LB

    • blood agar

    • fungal media (Sabouraud?)

    • chocolate, maconkey, TSA, etc agar (See above)

    • test if leeching from or PLA itself affects tissue cell culture growth, both cell lines and bone marrow derived macrophages

    • see if potential microbes can be resusitated in amoebic or other hosts

  • See if this technique can possibly be compliant with CLIA (Emily’s suggestion)



Experiment Started Tweeted Material Part Media Time Temperature Gas Fab. facility Cult. facility Replicates Result
Preliminary 1/23/2014 (Neches 2014, Neches 2014a, Neches 2014b) Orange PLA blob LB 96 37 aerobic UC Davis UC Davis 1 -
First trial 1/25/2014 Orange PLA tube LB 96 37 aerobic UC Davis UC Davis 6 -

Preliminary experiment


A sterile glass beaker contianing roughly 20ml of LB media was placed under the nozzle of a fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer. The nozzle was heated to \(220\,^{\circ}\mathrm{C}\), and the extruder drive motor was driven forward until into the nozzle until about 20mm of polylactide (PLA) filament had been fused and expelled through the nozzle and into the beaker. After 20mm, a tangle of molten and cooled PLA detached from the nozzle and fell into the beaker. The mouth of the beaker was then covered with sterile aluminum foil. An unopened sterile beaker of LB was prepared as the negative control. A positive control was prepared by removing a length of several centimeters of un-melted PLA filament from the spool and placing into a beaker of sterile LB media. The three beakers were placed into a shaking incubator at \(37\,^{\circ}\mathrm{C}\) for 96 hours. No growth was observed in the negative control, robust growth was observed in the positive control, and the beaker containing extruded PLA displayed no evidence of growth.