by emmett, published
Thanks to Wikipedia and the hard work of many scientists to measure tiny molecules, this is an accurate 35,000,000:1 scale model of DNA. It's a playset because you print out copies of the four nucleotides (A, T, G, and C) and snap them together into whatever sequence you like.
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Thanks! I was a little unclear. I read through all the comments and I was actually using Slic3r with the settings above. I then imported the gcode into ReplicatorG and converted it into a x3g for my replicator2. What happens is when I select the file to start printing, the extruder doesn't move and just sits there and keeps spitting out plastic. I can't seem to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
If you read the other comments here, you'll find some info. However, the real answer is this is probably not going to work with Makerware. Really I should just redesign this sometime based on the modern slicers. I haven't printed any of these in a very long time.
More Specifically, when I export the file as an stl, makerware says the file is too large. When i export it as a gcode, makerware fails to convert it to x3g. I must be doing something wrong... but I don't know what. I have set perimeters to 1, solid layers to 0 and fill density to 0.
Layer height .2 mm, Filament 1.75, temperature 230, bed size 153 x 155, print center 76.5 x 77.5, firmware makerware (makerbot), nozzle diameter .4 mm, retraction length 1 mm, lift z 0.
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The pieces have their letter embossed on their outer edges, but I still prefer to print them in different colors to make the sequence obvious. Remember: A's link across to T's and G's link across to C's. The snap shapes enforce this pairing. You may also notice that the A-T link is less secure than the G-C link: this is intentional, to model the fact that G-C pairs link by three bonds while A-T pairs link by only two.
There are some odd angles involved in creating a helix out of flat pieces, so the snap links along the helix backbone are only meant to line up along the outer edge. The letters are oriented such that if you read an assembled sequence from left to right, you'll be reading from the 5' end to the 3' end of the strand, which is the convention for reporting DNA sequences.
The OpenSCAD file is included in case you want to see how I modeled this or make changes. It also has an assembly function that allows you to specify a sequence and it will display the corresponding single helix. You'll have to make a complementary sequence as well to see the full double-helix.
These pieces print out so quickly that it doesn't take long to make a good strand (I can do about 30 base pairs in an hour and a half). However, be prepared to wait awhile if you want to print out all 2.9 billion base pairs of the human genome.
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