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ERIC Number: EJ1175823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Using Open-Source, 3D Printable Optical Hardware to Enhance Student Learning in the Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
Davis, Eric J.; Jones, Michael; Thiel, D. Alex; Pauls, Steve
Journal of Chemical Education, v95 n4 p672-677 Apr 2018
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a technology with near-unlimited potential for the chemical educator. However, its adoption into higher education has been limited by the dual requirements of expertise in 3D printing and 3D computer-aided design (CAD). Thus, its reported utilization in the chemistry curriculum has been within the creation of 3D models for the macroscopic visualization of molecular models and processes. With the commercialization of inexpensive 3D printers, we seek to provide a series of optical mounts and tools for use in chemical research or education by designing systems which may be mounted on a breadboard and used to construct chemical instrumentation. These designs include mounts for cylindrical lenses or mirrors with 0.5, 1, and 2 in. diameters, 0.5 in. diffraction gratings, an adjustable optical slit, cuvette holders, stepper motor (NEMA 17) adapters, and a modular, 3D printed breadboard. All designs were created using Solidworks CAD, and have been provided in Supporting Information and uploaded to in both Solidworks native format (*.SLDPRT) and a standard file exchange format for 3D objects (*.STL) format for use, modification, or collaboration. All files are released under the MIT Open-Source license (modified for Design). In comparison with commercially available products, the prototypes presented herein provide significant cost-savings, with many designs 1-2 orders of magnitude cheaper than commercial equivalents. In addition, these designs have been utilized in an upper division instrumental analysis course as students designed and constructed a visible spectrophotometer using these optical devices. Data from the resultant instrument is presented and compared with a commercially available spectrophotometer.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: CHE1507155