Step 2: Problem: current inkjet printers are too high resolution!

Problem: current inkjet printers are too high resolution!

We've spent a good amount of time looking at inkjet print heads under the microscope. The silver strip you see at the bottom of an ink cartridge is called the nozzle plate. It's just a sliver of stainless steel that has precision nozzles pierced through it. In this black ink cartridge, the nozzles are arranged in four rows, of which you can see two in the first image above. The nozzles are actually numbered, from 1 to 416. 416 nozzles in a print head that's about 1/3 of an inch comes out to 1200 dots per inch.

Now, 1/1200th of an inch means a spacing of 21 microns. Also, the nozzles themselves are actually around 23 microns in diameter. That's on the order of the size of a eukaryotic cell - uh-oh! We should still be able to print much smaller E. coli cells (~1 µm diameter) with this print head, and possible yeast cells (~10 µm diameter).

But wait - there's more!

When you peel away the metal nozzle plate, you get to the actual print head, a marvel of silicon engineering that incorporates both the liquid handling, the microscopic heaters that vaporize part of the ink in a thermal inkjet printer, and a bunch of integrated electronics. Excellent targets for an amateur microscopist!

The last image above has us a bit worried, though. There seems to be a filter integrated into the silicon, sitting between the ink reservoir and the print head itself! From the microscope picture, we estimate the holes in the filter to be about 3 micron, which may be getting too small even for E. coli cells. Doh!

In addition, if you use a commercial inkjet printer, you'd have to take out the paper path to be able to print on anything else (like an agar plate!). Plus, if you stick with the existing printer drivers you have very little control over exactly what the print head does. You could try adapting Linux drivers to do what you want, but that turns into a project in itself.

So perhaps a clean break is better - let's just build our own printing platform that we will have full control over!
could you use this to make leather
<p>here's the ebola strand :) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/10313991</p>
<p>(yes I am aware that it is not feasible to do this with this particular strand of ebola... or any)</p>
<p>quick turn pcb board .12usd for 5pcs 100*100mm prototype pcb board . more information,pls contact eva liang via mail: service01@pcbgogo.com. make pcb board at http://www.pcbgogo.com/c</p>
For printing in papers we use inks , but for priniting life cells what should we use ???????
<p>other living cells</p>
Soften any 'plastic', abs with a couple drops. Mix by weight 60% lacquer thinner and 40% acetone. (You can alao combine 30 to 35% ether and 65 to 70% naphtha to make a petroleum distillate but remember it's 72% volatile!) Use a suitable eye dropper non-plastic or rubber...some plastics are safe as applicators. For really small precision jobs use a suitable syringe. Polyethylene for example should be ok to use. <br><br>(You know the drill for safely dealing with chemicals...don't be stupid! Get a little help from someone who knows what they're doing and where) (http://www.uic.edu/sph/glakes/harts1/HARTS_library/solventhazards.txt)<br>This solvent works fine for making plastic welds and all sorts of plastic repairs.<br><br>Make sure to use lacquer thinner and not just toluene. The additives help make a close solvent to weld plastic. Check VOC's before you start. No MEK required but it's ok if in the lacquer thinner. (Thin out some ABS solvent and dissolve ground abs to make a great filler. <br><br>
Sorry just fyi...I'm a hack so check everything before trying to open a cartridge. I have very advanced training in industrial fabrication but the tinkering is just a hobby that I totally get for no explained reason.<br>Keep safe.
<p>I'm absolutely amazed. This work is truly fantastic. No other words than compliments and compliments. A little question.<br>Do you think is it possible using living animal cells to build an active layer for an enzimatic bioreactor like a sintetic belly - gut?</p>
<p>Wow very cool</p>
<p>Good work with printer.</p>
<p>This is a fantastic Instructable. Now I won't have to steal live kidneys anymore.</p>
<p>kidneys and eggs yum!</p>
<p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qXXZLoq2zFc" width="500"></iframe></p><p>The first minute explains the possibilities of BioPrinters.</p>
<p>Amazing work!!!</p>
<p>Three words: Living Litmus Paper</p>
<p>Aren't the inks in inkjet cartridges alcohol based? Wouldn't it make more sense to put rubbing alcohol to clean the cartridges rather than just plain water?</p>
<p>Wow! This is amazing. Great job. </p><p>Congratulations guys!</p>
People are selling refillable ink cartridges now, so it might be much easier (and safer) to buy a cartridge that is designed to be refilled. (Although, you'd still have to open it up &amp; remove the sponge) <br>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_asi_1?rh=i%3Aoffice-products%2Ck%3Arefillable+ink+cartridges&amp;keywords=refillable+ink+cartridges&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1443536137
<p>Awesome work..</p>
<p>it is seems to be fantastic.us it possible to get the coding for the bioprinter ? if yes plss mail me </p>
<p>This project really very cool!</p><p>Iam impressed.</p>
<p>Hi ! <br><br>Great project . is it possible to get the codes used for the project. im trying to figure out how to use inkshield for a similar project of mine and im only a beginner :)<br><br>Thanks alot !</p>
<p>How about using a cnc milling machine to cut a precision opening in the top of the ink cartridges. Then another part could be machined to fit in the opening to close it. Look at the Othermill - www.othermachine.co/othermill as a suggestion.</p>
<p>clever, i'll give this a go when they come to town!</p>
<p>hello, does anyone have a sample of the arduino code? please email me abrarnourallah@gmail.com</p>
<p>Excellent project. Must try this</p>
<p>Interesting! But I have a question. What happened to the plate of E.coli on the agar plate? Wouldn't the cells eventually die off or if given nutrients grow so that the words were obscured? Is there any way to preserve the cells besides a picture? Or is deterioration inevitable?</p>
<p>I am working on a presentation for College, does anyone know what the price is? I would also like to know what will the market for this be? Will it be distributed to hospitals or will it be able to be used in small clinics?</p>
<p>Hi Alex! I visited BioBots website! When will the BioBots be available?</p>
<p>We are working on something similar over at <a href="http://www.biobots.io/" rel="nofollow">BioBots</a>. A low cost, high resolution, 3D bioprinter that is revolutionizing the field of regenerative medicine.</p>
<p>Extremely good...!!</p>
<p>Its really good :)</p>
<p>Really good</p>
<p>Thats astounding...</p>
<p>Its magnificent :)</p>
<p>Very cool!!</p>
<p>Thats impressive</p>
<p><br>Thats impressive<br></p>
<p>Thats excellent</p>
<p><br><br>Its extremely good :)<br><br></p>
<p>Reading this Instructable gives me chills!</p>
<p><br>Thats extremely good...<br></p>

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