Above: ‘Crowning glory’: Webcam shots (1-12) showing stages in the process of 3D printing a giant human molar (left) and the resultant 3D print with support scaffold removed (central and right).
The other day we were presented with a problem: was it possible to generate a 3D model of a human tooth that could be used for dental teaching and outreach purposes? The only thing was, the individual concerned didn’t specify the desired size. With a build volume of 215 x 215 x 300mm and printing resolution of 20-200 microns, our new Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D printer can print BIG, so what better application to put the new instrument through its paces! After a quick search on Thingiverse.com, we downloaded a stereolithography (.stl) file of a human molar tooth segmented from computed tomography (thanks to fvillena). We decided to print it as big as we could, but using the lowest print resolution and lowest level of infill. The results, shown above, are quite impressive – it took approximately 24 hours to print the tooth (crown-side down, root-side up) and with the support scaffold removed resulted in a 3D model approximately 300mm in height – about the same size as tooth from an adult T-Rex!! I suppose we can now be accused of (wait for it…) getting a bit long in the tooth!
- Perry, I., Szeto, J-Y., Isaacs, M.D., Gealy, E.C., Rose, R., Scofield, S., Watson, P.D., Hayes, A.J. (2017) Production of 3D printed scale models from microscope volume datasets for use in STEM education. EMS Engineering Science Journal. 1 (1): 002.
Above: Some of the class microscopes in various states of dismantlement.
It goes without saying, to get the very best out of a microscope you need to know how to optimise and maintain its performance. That said, you’d be surprised just how many microscopists don’t know how to properly set up and maintain their microscopes.
Recently, we run our first microscope maintenance course as part of Cardiff University’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme. We can’t tell you who it was for; but suffice to say, they use microscopes a lot in their work. The two day course covered the basics of light microscopy and the procedures necessary to keep a microscope squeaky- clean and correctly aligned. The practical element of the course saw delegates clean, rebuild and align both upright widefield and stereo-zoom microscopes.
Pleasingly, the course was well-received with very good to excellent feedback. Thanks to all who participated on the two busy but enjoyable days. Thanks must also go to our undergrad students for soiling and mis-aligning the microscopes ahead of the course – they did a far better job than we ever could ; )
Above: Tripping the light fantastic: the new Zeiss Lightsheet Z.1 fluorescence microscope.
A state-of-the-art, Zeiss Lightsheet Z.1 system has recently been installed within the Bioimaging Research Hub (BIOSI 2; E/0.03). The single plane illumination microscope (SPIM) allows fast and gentle multi-channel 3D/4D fluorescence imaging at the sub-cellular level. The system offers the potential of whole organ imaging of fixed cleared samples and can provide an unprecedented insight into developmental processes occurring in live model organisms such as Arabadopsis thaliana (Thale Cress), Danio rerio (Zebrafish) and Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit fly), and in vitro organoid at a high spatio-temporal resolution. Further information about this system is available via the Bioimaging Hub equipment database.