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Practically Printing Money!

Are 3D printers the new lab must-have?

Russell Neches, a graduate student in Jonathan Eisen's lab at University of California, Davis, thinks so.

In a post on his blog, Neches recounts a recent lab equipment order that included a handful of gel electrophoresis combs at a price of $51 apiece.

As Neches notes, $51 is pretty expensive for what's essentially just a glorified chunk of plastic, and so he decided that he'd try to fabricate his own using the lab's 3D printer instead. A few hours later he'd printed out six new gel combs at a price of about 21 cents apiece, for a total savings of around $305.

Even better for those currently in need of fresh gel combs (they make wonderful holiday gifts!), Neches posted the code for the combs on his blog.

"Conclusion: If you have a lab, and you don't have a 3D printer, you are wasting your money," he writes.

Also, 3D printers are awesome.