F.Lab's DIYbio Magnetic Stirrer

by F_Lab_TH, published

F.Lab's DIYbio Magnetic Stirrer by F_Lab_TH Dec 7, 2015
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This is our DIYbio 3D printed magnetic stirrer.

This simple project uses an 80x80mm computer fan, potentiometer, DC jack, and magnet taken from an old hard drive to make a magnetic stirrer.

We've also included a SketchUp 8 file so you can easily edit it to meet your requirements.

See it in operation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsxzPzaD56w

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How I Designed This

SktechUp Design Tips

We use SketchUp almost exclusively. It is easy to teach, intuitive, and very flexible. With experience there is almost nothing you can't do.

For this project, we used a caliper to carefully measure the parts. We gave each part 0.3mm tolerance to fit together. That means if you are using an 80x80 mm computer fan, you must create a space that has an extra 0.3mm on each side, or an 80.6x80.6 mm space.

When designing anything, especially a case for electronics, it helps to build a case-less prototype to see how everything is assembled.

Our centrifuge project had two versions. The first failed to account for how we would actually mount the motor. When it was printed out and in the process of assembling we realized it was impossible to do! The second version fixed this problem.

It is not enough to make a case that fits your components well, you must also consider what order and how it will be assembled! Keep in mind wire lengths and tolerances needed to account for pins, connectors, and other parts. Measure carefully and double check everything.

And remember -- it takes experience and lots of failures before you become good at this -- so don't be afraid to try, and especially don't be afraid to fail. We have a mountain of failed projects we use for spare parts and prototyping!

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Project: Build your own DIYbio magnetic stirrer

Objectives: Learn how basic lab equipment works by building it yourself, and create your own lab in the process!

This is based on a more basic project here: http://hackteria.org/wiki/Magnetic_stirrer ...but with a 3D printed twist.

Audiences: High school and above.

Preparation: You'll need an 80x80mm computer fan. If you have one of different size, you may need to get into the SketchUp file provided above and make some changes. You will also need strong rare earth magnets. We sourced ours from an old computer hard drive.

Finally, have a DC jack for a 12V power supply, and a common hobby electronics potentiometer (see picture).

Steps: Print out the components. Place the fan, DC jack, and potentiometer into place after connecting the wires (as per the tutorial linked above). Connecting the knob should be done using a piece of cardboard fitted into the slot in the knob and then pressed down onto the potentiometer shaft. Gluing it will prevent you from taking the case off in the future.

To operate your stirrer, find a glass container with a thin, flat bottom. If it is uneven or too thick it may not work properly. Slowly turn the knob to get it spinning before turning it up to full speed.

Results: Once you are done, you will have your own magnetic stirrer. You can use cut-off steel nails, bolts, or other metal objects to create your own "tornado in a jar," but if you have serious laboratory work to do, make sure you source a proper lab or food grade magnetic stirrer bar (usually teflon coated).

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Was planning to make one myself but your design is excellent! i'll make it when when i have the time :)

This looks cool. However, whenever I try printing it, the front and right hand side walls are way too thin. I'm using. Max wall thickness. 90% infill. Tried 4 times but same result. I just don't get it.

Very nice design. This device is so heavily used, just today I was looking for one and couldn't find it. So I came here, and sure enough... Thank you. It will be next in the print queue. BvD

it won't stir any thicker than water. A PC fan isn't strong enough. Nice model, epic fail in real life.

Even by your criteria, it is a solid win for an absolutely free design. Your extremely negative attitude is the only fail I find here. You are very good at finding flaws, so... how with all your wisdom would you fix this design?

For all practical purposes, there isn't an application for something that can only stir water. If you can think of any, feel free to contribute. If you have to redesign a free design to make it useful, then it's only an idea which requires design time.

A free one, anything worth having takes an investment of some kind. Do you work in a lab? Have you ever done chemistry? I can tell that you are excellent at being negative, maybe it is time to develop another attribute and consider negativity fully developed to the maximum level. I am here to tell you this, there isn't a single creation in existence that couldn't use some improvement. Instead of complaining and just expecting that the community owes you a design that suits your every need, take what is offered and show the community you aren't just a leach and contribute by improving upon that design how you think it could be bettered. I mean obviously people are going to want to stir more than water, but as far as I can tell, this design is still better than your design of the same device.

what are you trying to stir that it won't work with? Maybe we can use that as a baseline for the next version.

Then find a better motor, and test it with something thicker than water... I'm only stating the truth about the strength of a PC fan.

To be fair -- this project was merely to show how quickly a hacked-together concept (this one here: http://hackteria.org/wiki/Magnetic_stirrer ) at a workshop we attended could be turned into a permanent piece of functional equipment using 3D printing. People can see this and understand the design process very clearly from hacked-prototype to something more permanent. It can actually stir water with agar in it out of the microwave before setting into a gel which is what we needed it for, but you are definitely right about it having a hard time with anything thicker.

What we learned building this one can be applied to a V.2 which is what design is all about, iterations. But anyway, we'd love to see you take our design and build something even better, so why not give it a try? After all, that is the other reason we posted it here. If you have an actual experiment and liquid/solution/mixture in mind, let us know so we can use it as a baseline for V.2.

You are obviously an expert in the strength of fan motors. In your expert opinion what motor would you use instead? See instead of being a whiner, suggesting a solution is just as easy, and considerably more productive. Anyone can be negative.

The best application for this design is education! Building the model provides hands-on experience for budding engineers. Use of the tool itself provides understanding of the process through an inexpensive and easily repeatable simulation. Win!

Well said sir!

Well said miss. ;v) sorry.

Haha No worries!