Stirring Up 3D-Printed Lab Equipment

Magnetic stirrers are a core part of many chemistry labs. They offer many advantages for ensuring the effective mixing of solutions compared to other methods of stirring, including consistency, precise control, operation within closed systems, and of course, hands-free automatic operation. With so many reasons for employing a magnetic stirrer, it’s not too surprising that [Joey] would want one. He built his using 3D-printed parts rather than purchasing it.

The magnetic stirrer uses a 3D-printed enclosure for the base. Inside is a PWM controller which sends power to a small DC motor. A 3D-printed arm is attached to the motor, which hosts a pair of magnets. As the arm spins inside the enclosure, the magnetic fields from the magnet couple with the stir bar inside the mixture, allowing it to spin without any mechanical link to the stirring device and without any input from the user. [Joey] has also made all the 3D-printed parts for this build available on Printables.

While magnetic stirrers aren’t the most complicated of devices (or the most expensive), building tools like this anyway often has other advantages, such as using parts already on hand, the ability to add in features and customizations that commercial offerings don’t have, or acting as a teaching aid during construction and use. It’s also a great way to put the 3D printer to work, along with this other piece of 3D-printed lab equipment designed for agitating cell cultures instead.

A Temperature-Sensing Magnetic Stir Bar

Magnetic stirring bars are the coolest piece of equipment you’ll see in a high-school chemistry lab. They’re a great way for agitating a solution without having to stand there manually and do it yourself. [Applied Science] has now made a magnetic stir bar that features an integrated temperature sensor.

The device is essentially an RFID temperature sensor snuck inside a custom-made magnetic stir bar. The bar is paired with a smart hotplate base that displays the temperature readings. As a bonus, it can detect when the magnetic stir bar is out of place or not in sync, prompting it to slow down the spin motor until the stir bar is turning properly again.

The video also notes that the stir bar could be instrumented for even greater functionality. A Hall effect sensor could measure the magnetic slip angle of the stir bar, and provide useful readings of liquid viscosity. Alternatively, a pressure sensor in the stir bar could potentially measure liquid level based on hydrostatic pressure.

It’s a great quality-of-life improvement for regular lab work. It eliminates the need for bulky temperature probes that often get in the way. We’ve featured some interesting temperature sensors before, too.

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A 3D Printed Magnetic Stirrer For Your DIY Chemistry Projects

When mixing or agitating delicate solutions in the chemistry lab, a magnetic stirrer is often the tool of choice. They’re able to be easily sterilized and cleaned, while maintaining isolation between the mechanical parts and the solutions in question. While they can be purchased off the shelf, [Max Siebenschläfer] whipped up a design that can easily be built at home.

The build consists of a 3D printed base, containing a simple brushed motor. This is hooked up to a motor controller fitted with a simple potentiometer for adjusting the speed of rotation. The motor is then fitted with a small 3D printed spinner containing two magnets. A similar 3D printed part acts as a stirrer, and is fitted with a matching pair of magnets, and dropped into the solution. The magnets in the stirrer are attracted to the ones on the end of the motor, and so when the motor spins, the stirrer spins in the solution, with no physical contact required.

It’s a simple way to build a magnetic stirrer at home without having to shell out big money for a laboratory grade unit. We imagine this could be put to fun use for stirring coffee or cocktails, too – if built with a food-grade spinner. More advanced designs are also possible for the eager home scientist. Video after the break.

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3D Printed Magnetic Stirrer Could Hardly Be Simpler

If you’ve spent much time in a chemistry or biology lab, you’ve probably seen a magnetic stirrer. This is a little table that you put a beaker on. A little bar (often called a flea or a pill) goes in the solution and spins to stir the beaker’s contents. Simple versions are not that expensive, but nicer ones can cost a bit. [John] decided to build his own using 3D printing and the design is delightfully simple.

The electronics is nothing more than a PC fan, an off-the-shelf fan controller with a display, and a 3D printed bracket with some magnets. The flea is also 3D printed, although we’d probably buy cheap commercial fleas since they are usually coated with Teflon or some other non-reactive substance. Depending on what you are stirring, the reactivity of your 3D printed plastic and its porosity could be a concern. In addition, a commercial flea has a pivot ring that helps it spin smoothly, although we are sure the 3D printed one will work in most cases.

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