For the 2018 #CSD3DPrint contest, I used Mercury and the CSD Python API to generate the 3D printer files for the [Th(NO3)6]2+ structure with Th symmetry, found in the Symmetry Gallery (CSD entry GOBTAS). The model was then printed on a Prusa multimaterial printer using three different colors and a soluble support. While the process is a bit involved, this should work for virtually any structure and could be adapted to different models of 3D printers.
The steps required to generate the model are as follows:
- Load structure file of interest into Mercury
- Run the csd-3dprint-mm.py script from the CSD Python API menu (Python code available from GitHub) - generated STL files (one for each element in the molecule) will be found in the Mercury Python API output directory
- Load one of the generated STL files into PrusaSlicer (Slic3r)
- Load remaining STL files as part(s) of the first object
- Assign extruders (colors) to each of the atom types
- Place model flat on print bed surface
- Export gcode
- Dissolve soluble support material (if necessary)
A video demonstration of this process can be found on YouTube.