DNA Building Blocks

by EricYoung, published

DNA Building Blocks by EricYoung Nov 24, 2012

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10694Views 2990Downloads Found in Biology
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Nurture your kids nature with this DNA building block toy/model set.

The design is based largely on a toy I saw at a store and adapted to create with a 3D printer. You can take it apart and put it back together in different configurations to represent various gene sequences.

The test parts shown were printed with 150 micron layers and 100% infill in PLA and they fit together/over the dowel nicely after a little cleanup with an exacto blade. I only printed one each of the A-T-C-G nucleotides to fit-check because blue and white filament is all I've got right now. If anyone makes one of these with a nice color combo I'd love to see a picture of the real thing.

There's another printable DNA playset that's worth checking out - a really amazing design from emmett: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:17343


You need:

  1. 8mm or 5/16inch diameter wood or metal dowel and a saw to cut it.
  2. Glue / Adhesive
  3. 3D printer

Cut an 8mm or 5/16inch diameter wooden dowel to the proper length depending on the number of rungs you want to have. Dowel length(mm) = (number of rungs17) + 22.5. So if you want 10 rungs the dowel length should be (1017)+22.5 = 192.5mm.

Glue a Helix Rail piece to each of the nucleotide A-T-C-G pieces, fit together your A-T and C-G rungs (base pairs), then slide each rung over onto the 8mm or 5/16inch dowel. You can see how the A-T and C-G rungs fit together from the pictures; it's pretty simple and the A only fits with T while C only fits with G. Glue the Post Plug pieces into the small holes in the Base Plate and glue the Top Plate Cover to the Top Plate. Attach the Top Plate and Base Plate to their respective ends of the dowel and you're good to go.

I used Gorilla Glue on my parts and didn't wipe it down before it dried, so you can see the glue-foam sticking out on my parts and how crappy it looks. If you use a non-foaming clear glue your parts should look nice and pretty.

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10694Views 2990Downloads Found in Biology
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I've liked this model for awhile... but the aesthetic of the left-hand twist gets me every time. Apologies, I'm a right-handed stinker.

(N.B. most DNA is in it's right-handed form)

Haha no worries, nice to know the facts. It's not something I was aware of or that crossed my mind when making it. Now it's bugging me... dang it.