The first periodic table was developed in 1862 by a French geologist called Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois. He plotted the elements on a cylinder with a circumference of 16 units, and noted the resulting helix placed elements with similar properties in line with each other. But his idea - which he called the "Telluric Spiral", because the element tellurium was near the middle - never caught on, perhaps because it was published in a geology journal unread by chemists, and because de Chancourtois failed to include the diagram and described the helix as a square circle triangle. Mendeleev got all the glory, and it is his 1869 version (dramatically updated, but still recognizable) that nearly everyone uses today. This instructable documents my efforts to reimagine a 3D periodic table of the elements, using modern making methods. It's based on the structure of a chiral nanotube, and is made from a 3D printed lattice, laser cut acrylic, a lazy susan bearing, 118 sample vials and a cylindrical lamp.
The design process went through many iterations and down various dead ends that didn't work for structural or aesthetic reasons. Eventually, I decided to just 3D print the framework. Making the file for printing was pretty easy: I generated an output file using TubeASP, hid all the atoms I didn't need in Mercury, and exported it for 3D printing. I cleaned up the file using Fusion360. All steps are laid out in much more detail in my instructable "How to make accurate 3D molecular models".
However... when I printed it, glued it up and assembled it, I realized that the gaps between frame and acrylic panels were aesthetically, well, revolting. Most people didn't notice it, but it bugged me a LOT. The final design was basically the same, but with hexagonal punches taken out of the back of each cell to hold the acrylic panels. There are some slight irregularities with the wall thicknesses, but I liked it much better than the previous design and it was much stronger and easier to assemble. Thanks to the talented Scott Daigle (current innovator-in-residence @Pier9) for helping me out on the CAD when I got stuck. The STL file for the updated model is attached.