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Accessing 3D Printable Chemical Structures Online
We have been exploring routes to create 3D printable chemical structure files (.WRL and .STL). These digital 3D files can be generated directly from crystallographic information files (.CIF) using a variety of software packages such as Jmol. After proper conversion to the .STL (or .WRL) file format, the chemical structures can be fabricated into tangible plastic models using 3D printers. This technique can theoretically be used for any molecular or solid structure. Researchers and educators are no longer limited to building models via traditional piecewise plastic model kits. As such, 3D printed molecular models have tremendous value for teaching and research. As the number of available 3D printable structures continues to grow, there is a need for a robust chemical database to store these files. This presentation will discuss our efforts to incorporate 3D printable chemical structures within the Royal Society of Chemistry’s online compound database.