Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

PEEK Awareness

Posted by Editor On May - 15 - 2018

PEEK Awareness

Find out more about one of 3D printing industry’s toughest materials

PEEK, otherwise known as polyetheretherketone, is one of the most useful plastics ever created. With an extremely high printing temperature and a strong crystallinity to its composition, PEEK provides a wide range of useful, even lifesaving, products.

PEEK is insoluble in common solvents. It is also biocompatible, and due to its extreme heat tolerances, is perfect for sterilization in medical applications.  A perfect case in point is the use of PEEK to provide a 7-year-old child a new lease on life by being used to replace a portion of his damaged skull.

The medical industry is not the only one to benefit from PEEK’s unique qualities. Automotive and aerospace industries are also making practical use of this material.

Thanks to, a complete explanation of PEEK’s characteristics and tested structural parameters is available on their Omnexus division of their site. To find out more about PEEK and its applications and qualities, please see

The Big 3D Printer Secret Behind SprintRay

Posted by Editor On November - 30 - 2017

The Big 3D Printer Secret Behind SprintRay

SprintRay, located in Highland Park, California, makes top-of-the-line DLP 3D printers. Unfortunately, the demand for their product exceeds their current output. This, they say, is “a good problem.”

Founded with a Kickstarter campaign, the company began to deliver their printers several years back. While other DLP machines held the market share of the makerspacers, SprintRay went in a different direction. With the MoonRay’s resolution higher than most hobby printers may need, and faster at that, it has gained the appreciation by a group of people who truly need these assets.

Some would say SprintRay found a gold mine in people’s mouths.

Yes, their secret is in dentistry. SprintRay sells almost exclusively to dental clients, providing both mold creation and end-use applications for the specific resins dentists require in their trade. That resin would be NextDent by 3D Systems, which is biocompatible and CE-certified to be used in dental work and human implantation.

The MoonRay does all that and more. Because of their resolution and print speed, the company has gained an underground reputation among the gamer and character modeling crowd. Owen Bradbury, marketing director for SprintRay, explained that while the team spends nearly all its time marketing to the dental trade, the company makes the time to respond to its comic book fan base, as in its attendance to the recent ZBrush conference held by Pixologic in October.

“We were recently picked up with Patterson Dental to provide them with our devices,” said Bradbury, “So right now, we have a good problem.”

For more on the MoonRay 3D printer, visit

Early Bird Registration for Inside 3D Printing Ends This Week

Sign up today for this must-see SoCal event

The deadline to save with early bird prices to Inside 3D Printing San Diego, Dec. 4-5 is this Friday, Oct. 20 Registrants can save up to $400 on on-site prices of the show’s seminars and attendee events. Registration to visit the expo show itself is free, but must be done in advance.

The 2016 Inside 3D Printing Show was a stellar event, and a must for 3D printrs in the greater Southern California area. Companies ranging in notoriety in every vertical will be there to provide new developments to consumers and retailers alike and NASA will be on deck with a rocket nozzle demonstration.

Seminar topics include the “The Future of 3D Printing” keynote address featuring Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates; “Agility in Motion: Advantaged 3D Printing Innovation;” “A Road Map to 1 Million Unique Bio-Mechanically Enhanced Products;” “Getting Started with 3D Printing in Orthopaedic Surgery;” “Build with Life—Living Structures from 3D Bioprinters” and many more.

Sign up today at

The Daily 3D Detail: Here come wearable electronics

Posted by Editor On September - 8 - 2017

Here come wearable electronics

Wearable electronics will soon be available for a variety of industries. Photo by Wyss Institute.

A new 3D printing method developed by researchers at Harvard University has made wearable electronic technology a reality. These “soft electronic devices of nearly every size and shape” can be custom-designed and impregnated in 3D-bioskins.

The recent article in the journal Advanced Materials called “Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics” available at the Wiley Online Library explains the nuances of this discovery, and how we’ll be able to get one step closer to being cyborgs.

Here come wearable electronics

Everything from fashion to healthcare will be affected. Photo by Wyss Institute.

Through the use of 3D-printed conductive and dielectric elastomeric materials (think plastic skins with internal flexible electronics) and the ability to implant chips and transmitters into the print, the capacity to produce a wearable cellphone or key fob is within grasp.

The wearable electronics are a part of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering‘s plan to bring this technology to a variety of industries, including healthcare and aerospace, where the need for unobtrusive biosensory transmitters on high-risk individuals such as fighter pilots and astronauts can provide ground crews with more reliable and effective data.

Here come wearable electronics

The key to the process is robotic placement of micro-chips in flexible, skin-like thermoplastic polyurethane. Photo by Wyss Institute.

The research team, led by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Professor Jennifer Lewis and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s J. Daniel Berrigan, developed the system of 3D printing thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and silver electronic inks with placement of miniaturized chips and LEDs through the use of a robotic vacuum nozzle.

For more on this story see

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing tissues with blood vessels

Posted by Taila Rodrigues On September - 6 - 2017

The cardiovascular system is a complex network of tens of thousands of kilometers of arteries, capillaries, and veins that branch through the body.

Tissue researchers have spent decades exploring ways to create lab-made constructs with physical properties and similar biological functionalities of healthy blood vessels. Researchers have experimented with synthetic structures to replace irreparably damaged or clogged blood vessels, but have yet to present an approach that works as well as the real thing. However, some recent studies suggest that 3D-printed blood vessels that incorporate living cells may be the breakthrough in 3D bioprinting studies and whole synthetic organs.

University of California San Diego researchers have developed a technique to print a network of realistic and functional blood vessels using custom methods. Conducted by nanoengineering professor Shaochen Chen, the team created their own 3D printer, and produced intricate 3D microstructures that mimic the sophisticated designs and functions of biological tissues. Now they are working on building patient-specific tissues using human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which would prevent transplants from being attacked by a patient’s immune system.

This process could also offer faster, cheaper, and more efficient access to produce biocompatible materials than existing methods.

“Almost all tissues and organs need blood vessels to survive and work properly. This is a major bottleneck in performing organ transplants, which are in high demand, but they are scarce. 3D bioprinting organs can help bridge this gap and our lab has taken a big step toward that goal,” Chen said.

It is worth mentioning that research in bioprintagem is not something completely new.

Researchers at a Chinese biotechnology company, Sichuan Revotek, led by scientist James Kang, are also exploring the printing technique using autologous stem cells to produce artificial blood vessels. The technique uses the proprietary bio-ink of Revotek, patented as Biosynsphere. The bio-ink is composed of stem cells derived from adipose tissue, along with nutrients and growth factors.

“Stem cells have turned into appropriate vascular cells within a few days and, after a month, works just like the original blood vessels. This is a big step since the bio-ink has the unique ability to develop collagen, which allows the tissue to develop in different forms. Using a patient’s own cells to produce the components of stem cell ink can lead to low-cost engineering fabrics that are not only compatible with the patient’s body but also become part of it,” said Kang.

This type of technique is opening up doors and valuable research opportunities previously unavailable to science. The big challenge now is to combine the techniques into one machine, so researchers and scientists will be able to use a 3D-bioprinting laboratory containing a more accurate print at a higher resolution with a larger print structure.

In the future, 3D printing technology can be used to develop transplantable tissues tailored to the needs of each patient.

You can see the full article clicking here.

Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Researchers in the UK have made significant strides in bioprinting resolution. Photo by Alexander D. Graham.

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol in the UK have developed an improved method of bioprinting that allows for the resolution needed to produce functioning organ creation. In an article in Scientific Reports, authors Alexander D. Graham, Sam N. Olof, Madeline J. Burke, James P. K. Armstrong, Ellina A. Mikhailova, James G. Nicholson, Stuart J. Box, Francis G. Szele, Adam W. Perriman, and Hagan Bayley have introduced a method of printing living tissue with the use of a pipette that allows for 200 micron and under resolution clarity and were able to produce materials with 90% viability.

The research, led by the Bayley Research Group and School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, was able to produce human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and sheep stem cells (oMSCs), wherein delicate constructs such as cartilage were successfully accomplished.

According to Dr. Alexander Graham of Oxford University, “To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues, which have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells including stem cells.”

For more on this story, see the article at 3DPrinting

The University of Bristol was in the news last year for improvements they made to bioinks.

3D-printed device can be made for $550

Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

Spectral transmission-reflectance-intensity (TRI) analyzers are devices costing thousands of dollars. Their purpose is to provide a number of diagnostic health tests including, to name a few, detection of various proteins and antibodies in a blood sample, pre-term birth biomarkers in pregnant women, and evidence of PKU in newborns. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been able to provide, through the use of a 3D printer, a way of turning a smartphone into a TRI analyzer for the production cost of $550.

The brainchild of Brian Cunningham, a professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering at UI, the newly devised device will not only be able to provide a low-cost alternative to expensive blood, urine, and saliva tests in developing countries, but may even bring efficiency to modern labs as the smartphone’s LED flash and camera is able to test multiple samples at once.

The announcement of the device first appeared in the scientific journal Lab on a Chip. An article detailing the report has appeared at the site In the report, developers are pointing out that their device may have broader applications in the field for the purpose of animal health applications, environmental monitoring, drug testing, food safety, and even manufacturing quality control.

Cunningham explains, “Our TRI Analyzer is like the Swiss Army knife of biosensing. It’s capable of performing the three most common types of tests in medical diagnostics, so in practice, thousands of already-developed tests could be adapted to it.”

For more details on the new device, see this article at

The Daily 3D Detail: How safe are 3D printer plastics?

Posted by Editor On August - 4 - 2017

How Safe are 3D Printer Plastics?

VOCs produced by melting ABS, PLA, nylon and PET.

According to a recent privately-funded study conducted in Poland on the dangers of heated thermoplastics ABS, PLA, PET, and nylon, the risk to human health is nominal, and even in the case of ABS, is well under the prescribed exposure limitations of work safety organizations. (Above image courtesy of The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.)

According to the authors of the study, Szymon Wojtyła, Piotr Klama, and Tomasz Baran:

“The conducted study has shown that ABS is significantly more toxic than PLA. The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) has been in the range of 0.50 µmol/h. Styrene has accounted for more than 30% of total VOC emitted from ABS, while for PLA, methyl methacrylate has been detected as the predominant compound (44% of total VOCs emission).

According to the World Health Organization, a report on the danger of inhaled plastic gasses, toxicity occurs at higher temperatures and in environments without adequate ventilation. The report outlines specific data on methyl methacrylate (MMA), the most prominent Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in PLA:

“The acute toxicity of methyl methacrylate is low. Irritation of the skin, eye, and nasal cavity has been observed in rodents and rabbits exposed to relatively high concentrations of methyl methacrylate. The chemical is a mild skin sensitizer in animals. The effect observed most frequently at lowest concentration after repeated inhalation exposure to methyl methacrylate is irritation of the nasal cavity. Effects on the kidney and liver at higher concentrations have also been reported. The lowest reported effect level for inhalation was 410 mg/m3 in rats exposed to methyl methacrylate for 2 years (based upon inflammatory degeneration of the nasal epithelium); the no-observed-effect level (NOEL) in this investigation was approximately 100 mg/m3.”

While the recent study recommends implementation of better filtering systems into future desktop FDM 3D printers for added safety, the results clearly indicate that under normal print operations, the exposure danger to operators fall well below any danger levels.

For more on the story, see this article at

Ceramics May Mean End to Animal Testing

According to the International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, 3D-printed ceramics may mean the end to animal testing.

By providing the ideal biosurface for cellular growth, 3D-printed ceramics are proving to be superior lab tools over animal testing in giving scientists direct genetic material to apply to their tests. The benefit is from the singularly successful 3D design and the ceramic material it is printed on, allowing the proper scaffolding for biological growth, wherein researchers can do their tests for specific results and thereby avoid unnecessary suffering to living creatures from chemical tests.

Ceramics May Mean End to Animal Testing

The 3D printed design is in a clover leaf configuration of four “petals,” centered around a delicately printed square scaffold system.

The authors of the study have stated: “The microsystem obtained provides one of the most remarkable examples of monolithic bio-microsystems and, to our knowledge, a step forward in the field of ceramic microsystems with complex geometries for lab-on-chip and organ-on-chip applications.”

“Cell culture results help to highlight the potential of the proposed approach and the adequacy of using ceramic materials for biological applications and for interacting at a cellular level.”

For on the story, visit this page at

The Daily 3D Detail: Low cost prosthetics

Posted by Taila Rodrigues On July - 29 - 2017

The Daily 3D Detail: Low cost prosthetics

For many people who are born without or have lost limbs, finding suitable prostheses is a great challenge, as the high costs of the devices and the low chances of getting help are great barriers for those who have limited financial resources.

However it is possible to make prostheses much cheaper with a help of 3D printing.

Although this technology is still relatively new, 3D-printed prostheses are already more affordable than traditional prosthetics, as it is possible to publish devices quickly at a low cost which can be retrofitted and improved on the fly. In addition, the ease of customization in the manufacturing method contributes to a specific patient adaptation and a comfortable fit.

The Daily 3D Detail: Low cost prosthetics

Unlike conventional dentures that can cost around $5,000, an impressive prosthesis would cost 1% of that value. Of course, these prostheses in question may be relatively primitive — giving only basic movement for a missing hand — there are projects that demonstrate an influence by robotics, making the possibilities unlimited only by its resources.

The success of this 3D printing technology in medicine is already something concrete, as existing 3D prosthetics have demonstrated an effectiveness above expectations that will soon be available to the world’s poorest sufferers.

Thanks to the E-nable Project, having access to a prosthesis is already a reality for many people. E-nable is using 3D printing to “Give the World a Helping Hand”. They are volunteers in a worldwide network of people from different cultures, visions, and inspirations who have come together to offer cost-free printed dentures to anyone who needs it.

For more information about the E-nable Project and how to become a volunteer, visit the link