Biology class using 3D printing for amino acids

Biology class creates amino acids using 3D printing
Posted on 02/25/2021
3D printed amino acid

With the help of Mr. O’Brien, students in Regents Biology with Mr. Bates had the chance this winter to get their hands on some exciting technology, as they used 3D printers to create amino acids in class! 

3D printerStudents designed the amino acid molecules using the free “tinkercad” software. Each student selected one of the 20 different amino acids and first designed the model on the computer, then input the file into the 3D printer to build the model. Each amino acid was designed to be the size of a tennis ball, taking roughly 10 minutes for the printer to create in a resin, 3D model.

“Someday, using the design software and 3D printing will be comparable to calculator use today,” says Mr. Bates.

“We had to be very specific to make sure there weren’t any holes [while designing the amino acid on Tinkercad] because if there were it wouldn’t print right,” says Aurora Calabria. “It was really cool and something different… we’ve never done anything like this before!”

The amino acid models are used to demonstrate protein synthesis during the genetics unit of the class. This was only possible because of Mr. O'Brien's expertise. This is the first year Mr. Bates has used the 3D printers with his students and says he looks forward to continuing the lesson in upcoming years, as long as Mr. O’Brien can come up and help!

3D class