NIH launches 3D print exchange for researchers, students

June 18th, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a public website that enables users to share, download and edit 3D print files related to health and science. These files can be used, for example, to print custom laboratory equipment and models of bacteria and human anatomy. Today's launch coincides with the first White House Maker Faire, an event designed to celebrate U.S. innovation in science, technology, engineering and math.

"3D printing is a potential game changer for medical research," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "At NIH, we have seen an incredible return on investment; pennies' worth of plastic have helped investigators address important scientific questions while saving time and money. We hope that the 3D Print Exchange will expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators and students."

NIH uses 3D printing, or the creation of a physical object from a digital model, to study viruses, repair and enhance lab apparatus, and help plan medical procedures. The 3D Print Exchange makes these types of files freely available, along with video tutorials for new users and a discussion forum to promote collaboration. The site also features tools that convert scientific and clinical data into ready-to-print 3D files.

The 3D Print Exchange is a collaborative effort led by NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "3D printing is helping to advance science at NIAID and beyond," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "The ability to design and print tangible models of pathogens, for example, can give researchers a fresh perspective on the diseases they study and open new and promising lines of investigation."

Additional support is provided by other NIH components, including the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Library of Medicine. The 3D Print Exchange is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Ignite and Ventures programs, which help support innovation within the agency.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

Provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

This Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

New innovations in cell-free biotechnology

A Northwestern University-led team has developed a new way to manufacture proteins outside of a cell that could have important implications in therapeutics and biomaterials.

Diagnosing breast cancer using red light

Optical Mammography, or OM, which uses harmless red or infrared light, has been developed for use in conjunction with X-rays for diagnosis or monitoring in cases demanding repeated imaging where high amounts of ionizing radiation ...

Genome of American cockroach sequenced for the first time

A team of researchers with South China Normal University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has for the first time sequenced the genome of the American cockroach. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, ...

Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago

The timing of the Middle Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and the feedback mechanisms between climatic shifts and earth-surface processes are still poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that chronological ...

Mars Curiosity celebrates sol 2,000

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover just hit a new milestone: its two-thousandth Martian day, or sol, on the Red Planet. An image mosaic taken by the rover in January offers a preview of what comes next.