DESIGN - BIOlogy :: As mentioned previously, Desktop Genetics is holding a competition for a desktop DNA printer. Here are some pages from the first proposal (available in full, here on Scribd). I have another idea I would like to try and work on before the deadline on January 8, 2013. It's a break here and competitions this interesting don't come around often - I've also learned a tremendous amount of information on DNA synthesis while researching this project.
The design? It uses pressure/vacuum systems to pump chemicals in computer controlled sequence to a rotating work plate filed with vials. The setup is large enough for biomedical engineers to actually fill it with the necessary systems needed for achieving this. I will admit, I am not a biomedical engineer, so this design is based on what I could discern from existing oligonucleotide synthesis layouts.
A DC in and USB port is all a Makerbot needs to get up and running - so for simplicity's sake that is all an ideal DNA printer should have. While there is an LCD on the top, it would be best if software running on a PC handled all of the printer's functions, as well as set up. The LCD would display status, warnings, and the progress of prints.
I started with a 3-axis machine that was admittedly very large and not in line with the competition's requirements (see below).
Finally - I uploaded the double helix DNA model I made for the graphic design backgrounds of the proposal pages. It is in fact the very first SketchUp model I have uploaded to the free 3D Warehouse - you can find it here - enjoy!