Protein 3D Printing

Image: Model created by Prism

Currently, the main focus of the project is a Java program "prism" which generates stick representations of proteins from PDB files. The details can be found below.

A Java program for viewing the protein representations has also been written. A web page with the viewer embedded as an applet can be found here.

Models generated by the "prism" program can be printed on color 3D printers made by Z Corporation. Their web site is A brief description of the company can be found here.


The "prism" program generates two output files from two input files.

Input Files
  1. PDB file of protein structure.
  2. Text file specifying model details ("specs" file).
Output Files
  1. PLY (ZCP) format file for 3D printer.
  2. Text file logging model details ("log" file).

The "specs" and "log" file are specified on the command line. The PDB and PLY files are specified in the "specs" file. A simple "specs" file might look like:

(pdb-file 1crn.pdb)
(zcp-file test.ply)
(prism-nsides 6)
(prism-radius 0.7)
(run ca->zcp)

A sample command line would be:

java -jar protein3dprint-0.1.jar specs.txt log.txt

Which would read 1crn.pdb and generate test.ply.

The source code is available with anonymous CVS and as a gzipped-tar-file release. Both are available from the Protein 3D Printing Sourceforge site. A more complicated "specs" file that would generate a model like the one shown above can be found here.

Copyright Info

The programs in this project are public domain.

This project is hosted by:

SourceForge Logo .