I printer this kit now for my Year 9 students and get them to try to construct a periodic table. They normally start by lining up all the elements in colour or number, then start to notice that there are different numbers of rings, or sizes, or colours and with a few well timed questions they can normally build the whole periodic table themselves in about 10 minutes. It is great as I can then discuss electron configuration, properties of groups and periods, and because it is kinaesthetic they can fix the models in their head and we can refresh their memories when discussing Alkai metals, by simply saying, "...you remember the blue elements..." and they tend to go, "oh yes, first column, one electron in the outer shell, very reactive..." Normally after teaching this for a week I cannot get the same response from the whole class.
A great teaching resource. Thanks roman_hegglin for building and compiling these models, which I have downloaded from Thingiverse.com. http://www.thingiverse.com/make:64475
It took a bit of effort, but printed the first 20 elements of the Periodic Table. I used PLA plastic on Makerbot Replicator 2, 240C and low quality. The smaller builds took about 30 minutes each, the largest took about 2hours. Probably about 30-40 hours of print time, and about a kilogram of plastic by the end in total, but the teaching tool is amazing.
Blue represent the Alkali metals; yellow = Alkaline Earth Metals; Nobel gases are in Glow in the dark filament; White = Non-metals and had to use Black for the rest which are both Metals and Metaloids. I had planned on using Grey for the metalloids as these were the last two to print but the filament blocked up my printer and I had to spend about 6 hours levelling, cleaning, and eventually stripping out the motor and cleaning the nozzle to remove the grey material and so had to go back to printing in black.
Each of the atoms spins freely except for the black filament, which has set pretty hard and was difficult to impossible to rotate in the rings.