The Medical Engineering Fab Lab collaborates on a number of instrumentation designs to solve biomedical problems. Whenever possible, we share designs for future use in STL format compatible with most 3D printers. These files can be easily downloaded and viewed in QuickView.

Preclinical Phantom for Quantitative Solution Comparison

These are the files needed to assemble a preclinical phantom for quantitative solution comparison in a small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. In order to use, five solutions of interest must be prepared and placed inside micro-centrifuge tubes. These tubes are then placed inside the phantom. The phantom allows for filling of water around the samples, which improves shimming and reduces artifacts. To fill with water, a Luer Lock fitting must be attached to the provided hole in the center of the phantom bottom. A syringe can then be used to fill the phantom with water around the inserted samples. Sample applications of this type of phantom, include imaging serial dilutions of contrast agents like gadolinium (Gd) or examining solutions of different species for spectral separation. This phantom was designed around a specific type of microcentrifuge tube and MR coil, but the design can be altered to fit larger tubes and coils. Included here are the CAD files for design alteration, the STL files for 3D printing and the DXF files for laser cutting the gaskets.


Prevacuolar Compartment Model

Model is of a prevacuolar compartment of a high-pressure frozen/freeze substituted maize aleurone cell that was imaged by dual electron tomography in a Tecnai F30 transmission electron microscope (Reyes, F. C., Chung, T., Holding, D., Jung, R., Vierstra, R. & Otegui, M. S. (2011) Delivery of prolamins to the protein storage vacuole in maize aleurone cells. Plant Cell 23, 769-784.) A physical model (left) was created by 3D printing a mold of the extents of the model and filling it with acrylic resin to form a completed part. Individual components of the model and filling it with acrylic resin to form a completed part. Individual components of the model were printed with different color plastics and placed inside the mold at approximate positions while it was being filled with resin.


Device for Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Crystalline Fuel Material

Professor Emeritus Dr. Rock Mackie, Medical Physics; Dr. Kevin Eliceiri, Morgridge Medical Engineering and University of Wisconsin-Madison; Professor Dr. Michael Corradini, Engineering Physics, and Dr. Gary Stange collaboratively developed a crystalline-fuel reactor system with an annular fuel design for improved efficiency of medical isotope production with a nuclear reactor. Molybdenum-99 (99Mo) is required to produce technetium-99, used in more than 30 million medical imaging procedures yearly. The US accounts for half of the worldwide demand of molybdenum-99 with no domestic production, creating a supply shortage risk from unplanned shutdowns of foreign isotope production reactors. Crystalline fuel is used for more efficient fuel recycling: the temperature of dissolved spent fuel can be lowered to the point that uranium forms a solid crystal, leaving waste products in the liquid to be separated. Crystalline fuel also has a low melting temperature (61°C), and our critical reactor system was developed with annular pin geometry to improve heat transfer and prevent melting. Our experimental fuel analysis device measures thermal conductivity of the crystalline fuel material to ensure no melting occurs. It was designed, fabricated, and assembled in the Medical Engineering Fab Lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research with traditionally-machined and 3D-printed components.


Zebrafish Wounding and Entrapment Device for Growth and Imaging (zWEDGI)

zWEDGI is a fabricated device designed to allow for zebrafish larvae to be imaged and
manipulated on the stage of a microscope. This system allows for high resolution imaging of intact growing zebrafish larvae in response to wounding. The current design was created for research studies involving wound healing and subsequent imaging of the tail region of the fish. However the general design could be modified to accommodate other types of manipulation and other regions of the fish. We make this design available to the community but do ask that the design be credited. Please acknowledge the following in any written reports or papers: Kayla Huemer, Robert Swader, Jayne Squirrell 2016.

Zebrafish. 2017 Feb;14(1):42-50. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2016.1323. Epub 2016 Sep 27.


Micro Strain Device for Mechanically Aligned Collagen

The Micro Strain device is an assembly of 3D printed and commercial parts that is designed to fit on the stage of an inverted microscope. It is used to mechanically strain collagen gels to allow for collagen fiber alignment. This can be useful for mechanical testing of collagen and also to study the mechanism of disease spreading and how collagen alignment affects it (maybe reference the paper here).

It works by using a micrometer attached to arm (not shown) to move the arm slowly. The pins attached to the movable and stationary arms make contact with a collagen gel and stretch the collagen when moved apart. The center hole is made to accept a glass-bottom dish, so imaging of the strained collagen can be conducted.

Biophys J. 2014 Dec 2;107(11):2546-58. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.10.035. Epub 2014 Dec 2. PubMed


Binary Micro Multi-Leaf Collimator (bmMLC)

Multi-leaf collimators (MLCs) are used in image guided radiation therapy to shape the radiation beam as it is traveling around a patient. In order to do this, metal leaves open and close, allowing radiation to pass or blocking it as the radiation source moves. The path of the beam and the shape of the collimation are optimized by treatment planning software to maximize the dose to tumors while minimizing the dose given to the patient. This type of therapy represented a major step forward in the treatment of many types of tumors. However, preclinical studies of small animals are not performed under the same conditions. In order for the results of this type of basic research to be applied to the clinic accurately, tools like MLCs need to be developed but on a much smaller scale for small animal studies. This is the design of such an MLC, dubbed a binary micro MLC (bmMLC). All the computer-aided design (CAD) files are here for download and can then be manufactured or modified. The bmMLC presented here represents the smallest MLC constructed to date and is capable of administering a radiation beam that can be modulated by 1 mm increments. It can be used to perform much more accurate studies of guided therapy on small animal models.