Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

3D Printing for Ecology and Evolution: A Hands-on Guide to Turn an Idea into Reality

Version 1 : Received: 11 March 2020 / Approved: 12 March 2020 / Online: 12 March 2020 (14:46:07 CET)

How to cite: Schtickzelle, N.; Laurent, E.; Morel-Journel, T. 3D Printing for Ecology and Evolution: A Hands-on Guide to Turn an Idea into Reality. Preprints 2020, 2020030220 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0220.v1). Schtickzelle, N.; Laurent, E.; Morel-Journel, T. 3D Printing for Ecology and Evolution: A Hands-on Guide to Turn an Idea into Reality. Preprints 2020, 2020030220 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0220.v1).

Abstract

3D printing is described as the third industrial revolution: its impact is global in industry and progresses every day in society. It presents a huge potential for ecology and evolution, sciences with a long tradition of inventing and creating objects for research, education and outreach. Its general principle as an additive manufacturing technique is relatively easy to understand: objects are created by adding material layers on top of each other. Although this may seem very straightforward on paper, it is much harder in the real world. Specific knowledge is indeed needed to successfully turn an idea into a real object, because of technical choices and limitations at each step of the implementation. This article aims at helping scientists to jump in the 3D printing revolution, by offering a hands-on guide to current 3D printing technology. We first give a brief overview of uses of 3D printing in ecology and evolution, then review the whole process of object creation, split into three steps: (1) obtaining the digital 3D model of the object of interest, (2) choosing the 3D printing technology and material best adapted to the requirements of its intended use, (3) pre- and post-processing the 3D object. We compare the main technologies available and their pros and cons according to the features and the use of the object to be printed. We give specific and key details in appendices, based on examples in ecology and evolution.

Subject Areas

3D printing; 3D scanning; customized ecological objects; methods; stereolithography; open-source lab

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