Instructables

This Instructable presents a design for a 3D-printed centrifuge.  It also contains discussion of the design, and centrifuge design in general.



A couple of months ago, I read an article on Popular Science about one of their writers, Paul Adams, who was lucky enough to tour the Modernist Cuisine test kitchen.  Among other really awesome equipment the Modern Cuisine chefs/mad food scientists have at their disposal is an $8000 Sorvall RC-5C Plus High-Performance Centrifuge, which they use for culinary purposes.  It turns out that when ordinary food items are subjected to extreme centripetal forces in a centrifuge, some interesting things can happen.  Paul Adams did a follow-up article demonstrating how he used a small centrifuge to separate the solid and liquid components of pea puree and made pea butter.

After reading that article, I got really interested in what other foods could be put into a centrifuge to produce strange and enticing new flavors and textures.  I started scouring the web for other cool examples of molecular gastronomy dishes made by spinning food in a centrifuge. The pea butter in Paul Adam's article certainly looks very tasty, but I wanted to see more than just a green spread for toast.  Unfortunately, there are very, very few other examples of centrifuge recipes to be found; even after extensive searching, all I was able to find were a few random forum posts vaguely describing centrifuge experiments.  I was not even able to find any pictures (other than more pictures of pea butter).

So, decided to get a centrifuge for myself and start hacking food.  But there was a problem:  centrifuges are quite expensive.  Even low-powered bench-top models cost over $200.  Good-quality bench-top models can cost twice that.  Since I didn't want to blow my entire quadcopter fund on a centrifuge,  I set about designing my own centrifuge.  This Instructable presents that design and a discussion of the ongoing process of formulating and refining it.

So far, the design only exists virtually.  Unfortunately, I do not own a 3D printer and creating multiple developmental prototypes, and eventually a finished product, using services like Ponoko would be both extremely expensive and extremely slow.  That is not meant to be a criticism of Ponoko, I like their service a lot and I have used it for several projects in the past, it is just not ideal for creating multiple prototypes.  Over the summer, when school is out and I have more time to work, I may get a membership to a local hackerspace called Sector 67 where I would have access to a MakerBot Thing-o-matic and I could begin making physical prototypes of the centrifuge.  I will make another Instructable once I have a finished device to document the physical build process and some recipes.

In the meantime, if you are interested in making your own 3D printed centrifuge, you are welcome to use the designs in this Instructable either wholesale, in parts, or by creating your own derivative designs.


Instructable Table of Contents


     Step 1:  Background and General Design Considerations
     Step 2:  General Safety Considerations and Features
     Step 3:  Rough Calculation of Applied Centripetal Force and Sample Tangential Speed
     Step 4:  Non-3D Printed Materials
     Step 5:  3D-Printed Parts
     Step 6:  Plexiglass Cutting Patterns
     Step 7:  Centrifuge Drivetrain
     Step 8:  Rotor
     Step 9:  Safety Enclosure 
     Step 10:  Virtual Testing and Simulation
 
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cool instructable but rather pointless. I would love a food centrafuge, but it would need one gallon buckets cause I want to centrfuge soup stocks. As the price for one that would work is past anything I could afford, old fashioned fine sieves and albumen clarifiers are what I would use if I needed absolutely clear stock. A pity, as the solids would make excellent pasta/dumpling filling along with other ingredients. Canned stocks are boring and usually made from tiny amounts of meat and bone.


But as questionably useful as this is , it is a very cool instructable.

I know about questionably useful since I carry a fire piston. They are not useless, but are more of a cool item to have in a retro geek-survivalist motorhead sorta way.

But as it says in the bible, the geeks shall inherit the earth,
I had considered building a semi-large centrifuge into a pit. The buckets were going to be 2-liter soda bottles and it had a 300 watt scooter motor.
This IS doable, just expect to have to keep it in there a long time because you're looking at just under a few dozen Gs at a low rpm.
jongscx1 year ago
If you were to raise the number of cuvettes to 12 or lower it to 6, you could have a radially symetrical loading of 3 as well as pairs...

Secondly, while the swinging arm design is cool, I'd suggest that you just go with a static angle for the sake of simplicity. Additionally, if one arm were to bind during spin-up, the difference in mass distribution might destabilize the whole thing.
Tomdf1 year ago
Very sweet design, those renders are slick. What software did you use to design it?
it looks a lot like Autodesk Inventor
Ah, thnx Sensei.
Toglefritz (author) 1 year ago
Thank you all for your kind words! I can't wait until I get my hands on a 3D printer so I can start prototyping. I will make another Instructable once I build the centrifuge.

As for your question, Tomdf, I used SolidWorks 2012 to design the centrifuge. The renders were done with a SolidWorks add-on called PhotoView 360.
nanosec121 year ago
If this were to come up for community vote, you would get mine. What an awesome and detailed set of instructions. I really appreciate the linked articles as well.

Nicely Done !!
the_doctor1 year ago
This just makes me jealous of every one with a 3D printer. Awesome design!!
KEUrban1 year ago
Wonderfully detailed and written instructable. Nice job; can't wait for the update when you build it.