Unexpected research development

Today I realized I needed a physical object of a certain size and shape for my research. I was thinking that in order to get the shape I wanted, I would need to run a 3D print job.

I really didn’t want to do that because it would be both complicated and expensive. But where was I to get a 3D shape that did exactly what I want?

Pondering this question, I went to our lab kitchen to make myself a coffee.

And that’s when I saw it: It turns out that the plastic coffee lids in our kitchen are exactly the right size and shape for my experiments.

There are other benefits as well: The total cost of materials for a plastic coffee lid is less than a penny.

I felt excited by this discovery, and newly energized to continue my research. In fact, I was so happy, I forgot to drink the coffee.

2 thoughts on “Unexpected research development”

  1. In the top-notch “Spock’s Brain” episode of the original Star Trek series, set builders/dressers were given very short notice to put more control panels into one of the temporary sets–with no budget. They stole stacks of coffee cup lids from the commissary, spray painted them, and attached them to plywood panels they hung on the walls. (According to an interview in the bonus material on the series’s Bluray edition.)

  2. I remember that! My favorite prop story in the original series is one that occurred in the very first regular episode of the first season — “The Man Trap”. For a crucial scene, they needed a salt shaker, so the prop team set about trying to design plausible 23rd century salt shakers.

    In the end, they realized nobody would recognize the futuristic designs as salt shakers, so they just grabbed a salt shaker from the studio commissary. The futuristic designs were repurposed — as the medical instruments used by Bones for the rest of the series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *