I love when 3D printing can accomplish something to help someone solve a real problem and save money. Here’s a great case where a school student or lab could use a 3D printer and a common hand tool to replace a piece of lab equipment that can often cost thousands.
A centrifuge is a common site in many labs as it can be used to separate solids and liquids for things like bloodwork or biological testing. These devices are high speed spinning rotors somewhat similar to the spin cycle on a washing machine. There was a great article in Popular Science a few years ago about how a 3D printer and a Dremel rotary tool could approximate the performance of one of these precision devices. The article also described a simple experiment where you could use your new toy to look at some cheek cells.
You can find some of the files here on Thingiverse and the video above (although in Spanish) is a comparison of a real centrifuge and the 3D printed type. Hopefully this tech leads to some great home and classroom science and perhaps even some lifesaving lab work on blood in the developing world where equipment would be cost prohibitive or unavailable.