Welcome to the early days of DIY biofabbing.
Instructables user Patrik has put together a guide for making a simple bioprinter out of and old inkjet print and a couple old CD drives. He has successfully printed bioluminescent E. coli in the form of readable text (image after the jump). Bioprinting is still largely in the research stages for medical and industrial purposes, but DIY enthusiasts are close behind.
As our first real “bioprinting” experiment, we wanted to start with something simple, instead of jumping straight into printing with live cells. We decided to print with a solution of arabinose onto filter paper. Then we cut out the filter paper, and put it onto an agarose plate on which we had grown a lawn of E. coli that we had engineered to carry the pGLO plasmid . . . As a result, wherever we had printed arabinose on the filter paper, we now saw the E. coli light up green under UV light! Note that the beauty of this experiment lies in its simplicity: we only had to print with a simple sugar solution, rather than with bulky live cells; and we were printing on paper, so we didn’t even have to change the paper handling machinery.