Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

With the recent rise in 3D printing, I keep hearing about more novel ways to use the technology: cell 3D printing, liquid aluminum or plastic 3D printing. For example, this Ted talk deals with printing a human kidney. What interests me is if the current technology can be adapted to print with spider silk. The silk has some amazing properties, and apparently there are multiple types of silk that spiders use.

I found this project: Spiderbot 3D printer. Can spider silk actually be synthesized in large enough amounts to enable 3D printing?

share|improve this question
    
Just a note, the spiderbot printer you linked to is a multimaterial, but it does not print in spider silk =) –  evamvid Mar 10 at 4:16
add comment

2 Answers 2

The "...in large enough amounts to enable 3D printing?" part of your question is, I think, still unknown, but spider silk has been being synthesized in transgenic goat milk for quite a long time already, and I suspect that it's now just a matter of time before the answer to your question is an unqualified "yes."

See Macromolecules, 2011, 44 (5), pp 1166–1176, doi:10.1021/ma102291m

share|improve this answer
add comment

Synthesizing spider silk seems to be developing quickly, but for 3D printing we need not just synthetic spider silk, but a liquid form that can solidify once printed. I would imagine it is going to be two or more liquids mixing together at the printhead and then bonding and solidifying with the adjacent layers, like spider silk epoxy.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.