Started to print the first batch of plates, that were prepared yesterday. Interestingly, a large number of them were quite bad – not even, but there was a ‘hole’ in the middle of the plates. Maybe this was due to mishandling them at a stage where they started to solidify. Also, as I put the lid on the plates right away after pouring the hot LB agar into them, there’s moisture on the lids, which flows back, creating a flowing layer of water on top of the agar. This is not good either.There were some problems with printing as well, initially. Neither the plates, nor the table is level (well, the agar in the plates is not level because the tables are not level). Thus the needle of the syringe in the 3D printer doesn’t always touch the agar surface. Sometimes it goes in quite deep, thus the drop is not touching the surface.
Looking at printing issues, I made a number of improvements in the process. Now, the printer, after reaching the target location, pushes out the drop before descending onto the agar surface. This way, the drop has some time to come out. This approach also has the advantage that if the syringe is pushed inside the agar – the arabinose actually stays on top, as it’s already at the top of the syringe. The other improvement I found is that one can manually adjust the height of the printing process in case it’s too high or too deep.
We’ll see tomorrow if the prints make sense.
Unfortunately the day didn’t start so smoothly – it was pretty much like a Monday morning after a national holiday – materials were delivered a bit late, I didn’t have internet access, etc. But now these things are solved mostly.
I have a total of 12 rows to print. The plan is to print 3 rows per day – which would make everything ready in 4 days. Of course, we’ll have to see about errors, mistakes…