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Ongoing software developments for creating three-dimensional (3D) printed crystallographic models seamlessly from Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF) data (*.cif files) are reported. Color versus monochrome printing is briefly discussed. Recommendations are made on the basis of our preliminary printing efforts. A brief outlook on new materials for 3D printing is given.
Complementing a multitude of activities around the International Year of Crystallography, we report here on a few resources that are helpful for integrating basic crystallography into interdisciplinary college education. We concentrate on four resources with which we are directly involved. The Crystallography Open Database (COD) features currently more than 295,000 entries and has over the last decade developed into the world’s premier open-access source for the structures of small molecules and small to medium sized unit cell crystals. ‘Educational offshoots’ of the COD with approximately a thousand entries combined provide structural information on small molecules, selected macromolecules, crystal structures, grain boundaries, and crystal morphologies in the well documented Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF) file format. This information can be displayed interactively on the website http://nanocrystallography.research.pdx.edu and freely downloaded. Files that allow for the printing of selected database entries on any 3D printer have been added to this site and are also freely downloadable. These files were created with the programs Cif2VRML and WinXMorph that convert CIF files directly into 3D printing files. Interested college educators are invited to visit our open access crystallography resource portal and suggest other resources that should receive wider exposure over this portal.
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