Almost all of the 3D prints we’ve featured in the past either try to replicate something as a miniature, or go for the difficult scale of 1:1, but today we have something much larger than what it’s based on.
This giant representation of a bacteriophage – or simply “phage” – was created by maker Martin Krehenbrink complete with articulated “legs”.
Well, we say legs but Krehenbrink informs us that these act more like tethers or anchors for hooking onto host cells. Because of that the model cannot stand, but they do add an extra bit of detail to an already great model.
SketchUp Make was used for the modelling process over just a few hours. Test printing and modifying the joints added several days to the project, after going through four iterations.
Printing took around 12 hours to complete helped along by some of that clever design work. The top capsid is hollow instead of a solid 22% infill print it was originally, as this ate up time and filament and made the phage prone to falling over.
The finished version you see on this page doesn’t have any finishing or painting work aside from some cleanup of stray plastic. We think it looks great in this black and white setup, but you can always paint yours to fit your needs.
To do that, download the files for free from Thingiverse. It’s designed to come out as a model 18 centimetres tall, so play around with the scale if that doesn’t suit you.
Krehenbrink also adds that he took some liberties with the design to fit the medium: “The model is not quite accurate in the sense that some of the structures of phages are known at atomic resolution, but that means a whole bunch of blobs and lots of overhangs and a really difficult cleanup, at least on an FFD printer,” he says, “It also looks really messy and I couldn’t have made it articulated as obviously a molecular joint looks totally different from a regular-size one that works in a printed model. So I approximated everything with more geometric shapes.”
For those outside of the countries where the sport is popular: a cricket ball is included in some of the pictures on this page to give you a better idea of the print’s scale. While he no longer resides in the country, Krehenbrink grew up in South Africa, making this another local 3D print.