Jenny Tai
Jenny Tai
Jenny is the Makers Lab Engineer. Contact Jenny with questions about the Makers Lab, 3D printing technologies, and designing and acquiring 3D models.

Meet the Maker – Molly Rubin

This week’s maker is Molly Rubin, ALC Lab Manager with the UCSF School of Medicine Dean’s Office. Let’s take a look at their project:

Q: What did you make?

I made acrylic tags for our anatomy to be used during our practical exams.

Older practical tags and how they age versus the newly created practical tag design
(From left to right): Paper practical tags and how they age over time compared to custom made acrylic and vinyl practical tags

Q: Why did you want to make it?

I wanted to make it to have something more sustainable that would last a long time and hold up to the excessive use in the lab, and create something that could easily be repaired. We also focus heavily on accessibility for our students, so making a tag that had high contrast and clear font was important to ensure that there was equity among students.

Q: What was your process?

I came up with the idea for the project after having to continually create new tags due to the wear and exposure to fluids because the only things readily available were paper circular tags that you would have to write on. I came in with the idea and measurements and Jenny Tai from the Makers Lab helped it come to life using laser cut acrylic plastic and vinyl stickers.

Glowforge Plus laser cutter cutting tags out of white acrylic.
Laser cutting batches of circular practical tags out of white acrylic plastic

Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

The hardest part was just ensuring we had the best dimensions for the tags and sourcing materials that would hold up to the conditions it is put through.

Q: What was your favorite part of the process?

My favorite part was collaborating with Jenny and bouncing ideas off each other to create the best product for our lab.

Q: How did this help you better perform your role?

This just made it easier for faculty and myself to have ready-made and quality tags to make the practical exam setup run quicker and more smoothly.

Here’s a sample anatomy quiz to show how they would be used for this skull model:

Question: Identify one of two nerves innervating the muscles originating from the bony structure encircled by the wire labeled A?

Anatomical skull model with practical tag attached on mandibular bone
Acrylic practical tag attached onto anatomical skull model for practical exam

Click here to view answer:

A: There are 2 possible answers: mandibular branch of the trigeminal (CN 5 V3 nerve) or facial nerve (CN 7).

You first have to identify the zygomatic arch, then know that the masseter originates from the zygomatic arch for the 1st answer and the 2nd answer is knowing that the zygomaticus major and minor also originate from the zygomatic arch to answer the question. Our students are incredible and are able to answer questions like this!

Q: What do you want to make next?

More practical tags! But this time labeled T-pins that we use to pin various anatomical structures.