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3D printing lifts the lid on black box instruments

Cite this dataset

Garza, Levi et al. (2023). 3D printing lifts the lid on black box instruments [Dataset]. Dryad.


Within analytical chemistry, chemical instruments involve numerous interconnected parts working cohesively towards a specific functionality. However, these highly complex mechanisms cannot be fully depicted with a 2-dimensional textbook model or image, leading to confusion or misconceptions during the learning process. To address this comprehension gap, an array of chemical instrument components have been designed and fabricated with 3D printing to create a hands-on learning experience. The models developed were created in interlocking parts to allow disassembly and investigation of the inner workings of each instrument component. This work produced a series of teaching aids and dynamic models for common instruments including a quadrupole, quadrupole-ion-trap, orbitrap, FTICR mass spectrometer; a GC injection port, FID, and ECD detectors; an HPLC injector; an ICP torch and nebulizer; a Michaelson interferometer; a basic monochromator; and a shatterbox sample preparation device. These models were designed to be interactive and hand-held 1:1 scale models of commercial instrument components. Using these models, students’ learning may be expanded from 2 to 3 dimensions; providing hands-on experience with modern laboratory instrumentation impossible with commercial instrumentation. Models were used in a small Analytical Chemistry lecture (n = 8) which demonstrated positive student reception, especially for models with kinematic relations to instrument functionality.


5 Datasets are included: (1) - 3D models of analytical instruments. These were generated in either Solidworks or OnShape CAD software and are included as *.stl files for cross-system utilization. (2) - LabVIEW programs for monochromator and Fourier Transform simulations. Source code is included (*.llb), as well as an installer and executable versions. (3) - *.mp4 video files of mass spectrometry simulations. (4) - Assembly Instructions for provided STL files for 3D printing (Assembly Guide.docx). (5) - Student Survey - PDF of student survey results demonstrated in the manuscript.


National Science Foundation, Award: CHE-1507155