Teaching Aid Wish List: March 2019

  • As discussed in the workshop today I would love to have a plant and animal cell 3D model with the parts jumping out.

  • I love this idea! I predict that if you can recruit enough votes among your biology teacher peers, this will be an easy first place wish list model for March.

  • For the plant and animal cells, if this ends up being our March 2019 model, I will order in some flexible transparent filament to experiment with this. Perhaps try out printing the cellular fluid "matrix" in squishy semi-transparent plastic and the organelles in solid.

  • @JeffHolland Something like this may work for 3D printing the flexible and transparent portions. I have personally worked with TPU as being an economical method for semi-flexible prints (assuming a very low infill < 10%).

  • @dowdt That looks perfect. Interesting to read the temperature and print speed requirements are a bit different than PLA. I am looking forward to trying this out. The blue and red semi-transparent ones look amazing---can't wait to try this out.

  • @coachjmsmith Would you prioritize the animal cell or the plant cell?

  • @coachjmsmith With no other candidate teaching aids suggested in March, your idea for the 3d cell model is going to be created! Let me know which model you need most, plant or animal, and I will get started. Whichever you do not prioritize, I will put into the running for the next month, and get it made when I get a chance.

  • @JeffHolland I would like the animal cell first and the love the idea of the types of filaments!

  • With the DNAgo teaching aid from the February vote now done, the attention is now turning to the animal cell. Look for updates soon!

  • Lots of behind-the-scenes business organizational things have been keeping us busy this month, but it is going to help us serve you better! Work on the animal cell is underway, and the basic structure of the cell is almost ready to be populated by organelles. I will post a render photo as soon as it looks more cell-like. Get ready to send any feedback on the design.

  • Animal cell update! All of the models of animal cells that I have seen are approximately spherical or circular in images. It turns out that this is only the case if a single cell is found in isolation---animal cells that are packed in amongst other animal cells take on the shape imposed by this packing and so have more of a several-sided polyhedron. I am thus modeling the animal cell as something close to a cube with very rounded edges. I think this makes for a great teaching moment. I mean, even soap bubbles can be coaxed into cubes when they are combined.
    Here is the beginning of the cell. I left the bottom flat for easier printing. The nucleolus is in the center. This has pores scattered around the outside, and still needs to have some chromosomes added. It will sit unattached within the space in the cell and be able to rotate around freely to change the way it looks. The other organelles will be added soon.

  • @JeffHolland I misspoke: the nucleus, not the nucleolus, is shown in the center.

  • How do you want the animal cell model? I can model the whole thing as one piece, or I could have the organelles separate. The whole piece route will have the advantage of easy transport and not losing pieces. Having the separate organelles has the advantage of being able to model these in different material and making it easier to color them differently. Let me know which you prefer and I will make it happen.

  • I think I would like to have the parts separate but I could live with them being all together. I understand that cells are not just spherical but I think for the purpose of teaching to would be better to look like that. The plant cell is more "squarish" do to the walls. Thanks for work on this.

  • @coachjmsmith Thanks for the feedback CoachJMSmith! I will tweak the design a bit to make the main cell spherical. The idea of differentiating from a plant cell is a good point. I will keep the organelles separate and try to imbed them enough that they don't fall out easily. The advantage of being able to use different filaments for different parts is likely going to be quite worth it. New prototype render coming soon this week!

  • Animal cell model progress: the animal cell is spherical now. I chopped the bottom flat so that it will still print easily and will sit on a desk without rolling around. Added some chromosomes to the nucleus. Will work on the other organelles this week. Updates soon!

  • New render for the animal cell model is here.

  • Render of the mitochondria for the animal cell model. I used a cut-away to show the infolding of the inner membrane. A really motivated group could print this in transparent filament and have an L.E.D. inside it to highlight that it is the power house of the cell.

  • Animal cell update: The animal cell model now has a nucleus with chromosomes, mitochondria with cut-away showing inner membrane, and a pair of centrioles showing. This latter latest feature is highlighted in blue and in the foreground below. Let me know what you think!

  • That looks great! Thanks for the update.


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