Fabrication of a Low-Cost, Motorized, 3D-Printed Mechanical Testing Device Compatible with Confocal Microscopy
Mehta, Shail M
Grande-Allen, K. Jane
Master of Science
Current mechanical testing approaches in bioengineering involve systems that are bulky, expensive, and unable to work in tandem with many characterization procedures. In this thesis, we report the fabrication of a 3D-printed mechanical testing device with motorized translation controllable over a Bluetooth connection. Furthermore, with a form factor constrained to a 96-well plate, the device is able to fit into most conventional microscopy stages for simultaneous characterization of microstructure deformation under a quantifiable mechanical load. The construction of this device is performed using commercially-available 3D printers and metal fasteners, therefore production costs are as low as $100. Two design approaches to the device are detailed, and results of mechanical testing on multiple synthetic materials, as well as biological tissue, are discussed. We determined that this device, though not yet generalizable to mechanical analysis of all complex materials, does show significant promise as a viable microscopy-compatible mechanical testing device.
Mechanical Testing; Microscopy; Biomechanics; 3D Printing