Perhaps you started your 3D printing pursuit with the inexpensive and popular Monoprice MP Select printer, but have since moved on, leaving it to rust in a corner of your garage or basement. Consider, however, that at its core it’s just a collection of X/Y/Z steppers, rails and screws, ready for your next project that requires something to be properly positioned in space. Maybe, as seen here, you could make it into a DIY bioprinter.
While this isn’t the first printer conversion we’ve seen here, using one to dispense biological materials will be new to many readers. While those two worlds may seem far apart, the conversion, if not simple, is at least understandable. The extruder is replaced by a syringe dispensing mechanism, and the Z-height switch simply re-positioned to allow the tip of the dispenser to hit it and automatically adjust for the device’s longer reach.
Internally, the printer is stripped of control components, replaced instead by an Arduino Mega and RAMPS 1.4 board, with firmware modified for the new apparatus. A custom Cura profile is needed to properly place materials, and creating bio-ink isn’t a trivial matter either, but compared to tens of thousands of dollars (or more) for a commercial setup, the time and comparatively small amount of money needed for this rig seems like a good trade-off! A 3D rendering of the machine’s homing procedure can be seen in the video below.