Rapid prototyping and 3-D printing of experimental equipment in soil science research

David P. Rangel, Claire Superak, Mayra Bielschowsky, Katie Farris, Ruth E. Falconer, Philippe C. Baveye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Until recently, the custom manufacture of equipment for laboratory or field experiments in soil science required appreciable know-how, and was extremely time-consuming. Technological advances in rapid prototyping and “3-D printing” in the last decade afford significant, and as yet untapped, opportunities to manufacture equipment in a very different way. In the present note, we demonstrate with two concrete examples that 3-D printing is not only a very effective and versatile technique to produce laboratory or field equipment. It also alleviates some of the restrictive technical constraints imposed by lathes and molding processes used traditionally, and it permits a much more efficient sharing of information among researchers. Given the tremendous advances in 3-D printing unfolding at the moment, it is anticipated that this technology will revolutionize the way we design, and especially replicate, experiments in soil science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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