Step 7: Success!

Picture of Success!
So here's our first honest-to-god BioPrint... We loaded a liquid culture of E. coli +pGLO into the inkjet cartridge, modified the little "I <3 InkShield" demo Arduino program that came with the InkShield, and printed a couple of lines of "I <3 BioCurious" over and over on an agar plate. (I'll attach some code as soon as I figure out how to do that.) The agar plate was filled almost to the top, to minimize the printing distance.

As you can see, printing with live E. coli cells worked perfectly! We probably let the colonies develop a little too long, so the letters are a bit fuzzy. We get a spray of small colonies from stray cells - probably due to some sputtering from the inkjet head. We may be able to improve on that by adjusting the viscosity or cell density of the culture we load into the cartridge.

But overall, not bad for a first try!

After printing, we disinfected surfaces with bleach, rinsed out the ink reservoir with bleach, and then let some bleach drip-flush through the print head, followed with a lot of deionized water, to make sure no bleach would dry up inside the print head.

It would probably be a good idea to invest in a second hand ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, so you can sonicate the heck out of any dead cells or other deposits that may form inside the print head.
fraenzaen2 years ago
thanks for sharing your work!
Do you know about something like this with Epson printers?
I think they are based on Piezo not thermal technology, could they be used for a wider range of materials?