Introduction: Visible Molecules: 3Doodler Model Making

About: Corinne Maurits is a student and working artist living in Cincinnati Ohio. In the future, Corinne hopes to become an Educator.

This project will take you on a step by step process on how to create a model of a molecule. This project is great for science enthusiasts of all ages, and could be altered to use in a classroom setting.

For the purposes of demonstration, I will be showing you how to create a caffeine molecule. Caffeine is found naturally in things like coffee, chocolate, and even tea. It is poisons to most other animals, but humans seem to really enjoy it!

Caffeine's chemical formula is C8H10N4O2, meaning it consists of 8 Carbon atoms, 10 Hydrogen atoms, 4 Nitrogen atoms, and 2 Oxygen atoms. The atoms are held together by the polar forces of each atom interacting with one another.

Our model of the caffeine molecule will display how these atoms are oriented, and the different types of bonds that make up the completed molecule.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Gathering Supplies

You will need:

A 3Doodler pen

Assorted 3Doodler PLA/ABS plastic filament

A paper plate (any flat paper surface will do)

A reference photo

Access to an outlet/ power source

Step 2: Preparing the 3Doodler

First, begin by plugging in the 3Doodler pen. If you are using ABS plastic, adjust the heat dial to the BLUE setting, use the GREEN setting for the PLA plastic.

Step 3: Loading the Filament

After the device has finished heating, place a filament into the chamber, as pictured above. To load the filament, press the small power button on the topside of the device. This is the Fast Feed button, and will allow the filament to be loaded into the device.

Step 4: Begin Creating Your Design

Start by holding the tip of the 3Doodler a few centimeters above your working surface. Once the plastic begins to extrude, create an anchor by forming a small ball of plastic.You can dispense the plastic at a faster or slower pace depending on which button you press. Find the one that is best for you.

Step 5: Start Drawing!

Once you have an anchor set, continue to draw with the pen as you would with any writing instrument.

Step 6: Strengthen the Design

Build up the sides of the design, as pictured above. This will help to give the finished progress more integrity.

Step 7: Add the Bonds!

Remove the piece from the working surface. Carefully add bonds to the appropriate areas of the molecule. The bonds are the chemicals that hold the molecules together like glue! You can even try using different colors for each different elemental bonds.

Step 8: Let the Design Harden Completely

Let the design cool completely on a flat surface. This will ensure the design does not warp when cooling. It usually takes 2-5 minutes for the plastic to finish cooling and cure.

Step 9: Your Molecule Is Finished!

You now have a completed molecule to do with as you please! You can add a pin to the back, or add a chain and wear it!