Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Scientists invent antimicrobial 3D printing material that can kill 99% of bacteria

The 3D printed plastic material that can kill 99% of bacteria could revolutionise dental implants

Scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have invented a type of 3D printed plastic that can kill 99% of bacteria that touches it, which could pave the way for a multitude of medical, dental, food hygiene and child safety applications.

The researchers took the dental resin polymers that are used to make artificial teeth implants and embedded antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts inside the polymers. The salts are positively charged, which causes negatively charged bacterial membranes to burst and die.

The polymer was then put into a 3D printer and used to print out a range of dental items, including replacement teeth implants and orthodontic braces, with the objects hardened using ultraviolet light.

When the objects were coated in a mix of saliva and Streptococcus mutans, the bacterium that causes tooth decay, the researchers found that the new material was able to kill over 99% of the bacteria, whereas the dental resin polymer on its own could only kill 1% of bacteria.

Teeth implants are expensive and just like with real teeth, bacteria can cause a great deal of damage to false teeth and infect the gums and teeth around the implants. But this problem could become a thing of the past using antimicrobial plastic.

For now, the material is still being tested, as the experiments only tested the effects of the saliva and bacteria on dental samples coated with the mix over a period of six days, and the researchers have yet to ascertain whether the material is compatible with toothpaste.

However, once the material is conclusively tested, as dental resin is already considered to be safe for humans, the new material could be used in a wide range of non-dental applications – such as for children's toys, to improve food packaging or in water purification.

Stratasys 3D Printers and Materials are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Printing Solutions provider. From 3D Printers, 3D Parts, 3D Scanners including Printer Maintenance services and consumables for Stratasys 3D printers, Objective3D is the largest distributor of Stratasys 3D Printers across Australia and New Zealand, and were recently awarded the Stratasys Customer Satisfaction and Support Award for 2013 for the Asia Pacific region. 

Objective3D is also a total solutions provider of 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

For more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ) or try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTING SYSTEM if you have need a 3D Part Printed.



The future of digital dental technology

Matthew Garnett, owner and MD of Merseyside-based orthodontic dental laboratory, Thermadent Ltd, has something to say about the future of digital dental technology.



"Let's get digital..."

Matthew has 25 years experience in dental technology, beginning as an apprentice in 1990. he went on to Liverpool Community College where he qualified in 1996 with distinctions and won the "Student of the Year Award for Excellence" in dental technology. His passion for perfection remains undimmed and he believes we must never rest on our laurels.

Before launching Thermadent in 2011 he worked in a number of laboratories right across the North West as an orthodontic technician, gathering valuable experience in all aspects of the craft. He took a lot of pride in his work and he made every appliance to the best of his ability, preparing each one as if it was for one of his own children. This level of commitment runs through the work of every member of the Thermadent team and is at the core of their success, that and their willingness to invest in the best, cutting edge technology.

Thanks to strong client recommendations our client list increased rapidly over the first few months after opening. As a result the Thermadent team had to move to bigger and better premises and increase staff levels. Now, as an established and well known orthodontic laboratory, it employs 10 staff and have plans to expand to new premises within the near future.

Since February 2014, NHS Dental Services has been requesting that the submissions of pre-treatment and post-treatment study models be submitted digitally. In a nutshell this means that instead of submitting the actual plaster models for your completed cases, you now need to submit digital scan files instead.

Because of this Matthew felt he needed to invest in a digital scanner to ensure he could service all his clients’ needs and he can now convert all plaster study models to 3D digital models, which makes a lot of sense for many orthodontic practices. As any technician knows all too well, plaster study models are bulky and can be difficult to store. They can also become mislaid and broken, and sometimes, if stored in damp environments, they can even become mouldy and unusable. It is old technology and Matthew felt it was time for change.

Using 3D digital study models means there’s no longer any need to store the physical study models − and he no longer need to worry about plaster model disposal, which can be costly and time expensive. What’s more, thanks to new GDC regulations, every orthodontic practice now has to keep a record of each patient’s tooth movement indefinitely. To store each patient’s physical plaster study models would quickly become an impossibility. Think of the cost for one thing, that and the fact that over a period of time, plaster study models will begin to decompose. With digital study models all you need is a safe, secure place to store the CD’s that contain the files.

Why choose an Objet30 OrthoDesk 3D printer?
Once we had the scanner in place Matthew thought it would make sense to move into the clear aligners sector because he was halfway there already. However, this move would mean he would now have to invest in a 3D digital printer. Thinking things through he realised that any investments in digital technology now will help drive Thermadent’s success in the very near future. His aim has been to not only provide clients with a fully digital service regarding study models, but also to create a product to rival the leading clear aligner manufacturers. He studied the 3D print market and plumped for an Objet30 OrthoDesk printer.

Stratasys Reseller in the UK helped Matthew decide which 3D printer was best for his needs thanks to their informed and impartial advice. Their help with installation and integration of the new machine with his existing equipment meant he could get on with the training they provided straight away, which reduced set-up time for the new Objet30 to an absolute minimum. They provided a first-class service all round.

Thanks to the precise tolerances and extreme accuracy provided by the Objet30 printer (28 microns detail, much better than other leading printers) our aligners are more accurate and provide a much better fit. Using the printer in-house also reduces lead times significantly. There is also a greatly reduced environmental impact compared to traditional and alternative CAD/CAM methods because the printing process produces a lot less waste.

The Objet30 is the first 3D printer of its kind, combining supreme accuracy with a surprisingly small footprint. It is easy to use, and includes specialized dental printing materials in convenient sealed cartridges. Using this new desktop model, and thanks to its patented PolyJet 3D printing technology, the Thermadent team can fabricate orthodontic appliances, delivery and positioning trays, models for clear aligners, retainers and surgical guides − with predictably consistent, high quality outcomes every time.

The Objet30 has been specifically designed for small to medium-sized orthodontic dental labs like Thermadent. It helps Matthew and his team to digitize their workflow from digital file to model, accelerate their production times and increase production capacity cleanly and efficiently. And there’s more. Now they enjoy a digital workflow we are able to convert chairside oral scans into precisely accurate 3D printed models. However, what this actually means to the work process is just one facet of the overall, digital breakthrough the Objet30 provides to both the lab and its customers.



Profits and savings
Matthew refers to a recent case study in which a practitioner took a patient’s normal alginate impression, and then made a chairside intraoral digital scan creating an STL file. Both were sent to their usual laboratory where the alginate impression was cast using Crystacal plaster (said to be the best, most accurate in its class). The digital STL file was printed using an OrthoDesk 3D printer. The results were astounding. The chairside digital scan, once converted into a 3D printed model, was the more accurate of the two by far.

If practitioners were to take a good look at their annual costs, including traditional lab bills, they would soon realise that investing in a chairside, intra-oral scanner and working with a fully functioning digital laboratory would have a massive impact on improving overall profits. And say goodbye to expensive recalls. Currently, how often does your lab phone to reappoint a patient because of a distorted impression? Consider that and then add in the fact that complaints regarding dental devices are on the increase. Taking the possibility of a distorted impression/recall/complaint out of the equation by going digital becomes a no-brainer. It makes economic sense and adds to quality control, win, win.

"We talk about the technology of the future, but thanks to continuous advances in CAD/CAM the future is here, now. Imagine the modern digital pathway leading from chairside scan to fast, accurate, 3D printed model. Private dental clients can have their intra-oral scans stored digitally. These scans can be taken quickly and cleanly then emailed direct to the lab. There’s no chance for distortions, mistakes, accidents or breakages. At Thermadent we can print a very accurate representation of the patient’s oral anatomy and also keep it on a digital file, plus the sheer speed of 3D printing means we can get to work straight away.

Fast, clean and accurate, the digital pathway means the patient spends less time in the chair and there’s less time spent waiting for the appliance afterwards. The results fit better, there are reduced material and staff costs and patient consultations are quicker and more animated. Going digital is surely the only route for affordable dental technology, and I see it as a must for all forward-thinking dental practitioners."....Matthew Garnett, MD Thermadent Ltd.

Stratasys 3D Printers including the Objet30 Orthodesk are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Printing Solutions provider. From 3D Printers, 3D Parts, 3D Scanners including Printer Maintenance services and consumables for Stratasys 3D printers, Objective3D is the largest distributor of Stratasys 3D Printers across Australia and New Zealand, and were recently awarded the Stratasys Customer Satisfaction and Support Award for 2013 for the Asia Pacific region. 

Objective3D is also a total solutions provider of 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.


For more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)

Article Source: Dental Review news

3D Printed Spoon Gives Visually Impaired Child New Handle on Independence

When 4 year old Anthony of Shelbyville, Kentucky lost his vision after an operation to remove a brain tumor, Wayne Whitworth, a family friend and former United States marine, offered a solution to help the little boy regain his independence. Whitworth turned to 3D printing to develop a customized spoon on the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D Printer at UPS store 0830, located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Simple daily functions like self-feeding posed frustrating challenges for Anthony and his family. “Anthony is blind so finding a spoon that he liked was a real challenge,” said Anthony’s mother, Cierra Brettnacher.


 Anthony celebrated his 4th birthday last month using his Stratasys 3D printed spoon to eat a piece of birthday cake

Anthony was drawn to a particular spoon he encountered during physical therapy. The special curvatures and features help visually impaired children like Anthony adapt to feeding themselves. Reproducing a utensil with a unique shape would require a process with greater design freedom and durable material options to withstand the stress of daily use—that process was additive manufacturing.


Stratasys 3D printing was crucial to the design of Anthony's spoon, as it gave Whitworth and The UPS Store the flexibility to change their approach throughout the design process

Whitworth came across United Problem Solvers™ campaign, a UPS initiative which helps customers find solutions to unique problems. UPS store 0830 franchisee, Debbie Adams, along with her graphic designer, Doug Seelbach, worked with Whitmore to develop a spoon that closely resembled the original.

Because they lacked a material that was FDA-approved and food safe, they shifted their design approach to develop a customized handle that would attach to disposable kitchen utensils. Adams and Seelbach developed two handles using durable ABSplus 3D printing material, branding one with a small square on top so Anthony could identify a fork from a spoon.

uPrint SE Plus 3D Printer from Stratasys

Whitworth and the UPS team’s kind-hearted gesture has gone a long way for Anthony and his family.
“When I gave the spoon to Anthony it made a huge difference,” said Cierra. “I was having to sit and feed two kids at the same time. So Anthony having a spoon where he could feed himself not only gave him independence and confidence but it also helped me so I don’t have to sit and feed him myself.”

Anthony’s 3D printed spoon device has made an enormous difference in the family’s daily routine. According to Cierra, the spoon has effectively introduced Anthony to many different types of food, a common headache for most parents of young eaters. “Since he’s able to feed himself these foods, he’s much more open to them,” added Cierra. “This spoon has truly impacted our lives in a variety of ways.”

Stratasys 3D Printers are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Printing Solutions provider. From 3D Printers, 3D Parts, 3D Scanners including Printer Maintenance services and consumables for Stratasys 3D printers, Objective3D is the largest distributor of Stratasys 3D Printers across Australia and New Zealand, and were recently awarded the Stratasys Customer Satisfaction and Support Award for 2013 for the Asia Pacific region. 

Objective3D is also a total solutions provider of 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

For more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ) or try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTING SYSTEM if you have need a 3D Part Printed.

Daniel Widrig’s New 3D Printed Art Collection Explores Futuristic Human Form

Acclaimed artist and designer Daniel Widrig collaborated with Stratasys to create a futuristic 3D printed art collection. The collection, entitled Descendants, was unveiled at the ‘GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution’ exhibition, at ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, on October 30.

DESCENDANTS by Daniel Widrig in collaboration with Stratasys produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D printing technology. Size: 1751 x 452 x 292mm (Female), 1848 x 627 x 342mm (Male). Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

Exploring a futuristic context where technological development and computational capacities continue to spiral, Descendants addresses the increasing possibility of superior artificial intelligence and technological singularity, and how future synthetic bodies might look and feel. “With advanced technologies, such as 3D printing, already facilitating the customization and enhancement of the human form, the concepts of a post-human era of non-biological intelligence is now much more conceivable,” explains Widrig. “It is an inevitable yet exciting design challenge to begin to speculate on how new material bodies might be formed to face the real-world constraints of the future.”

The elaborate humanoid figures were developed by overlapping high-resolution 3D scans of male and female figures with intricate digital compositions. Bringing the digital images to life, the pieces were 3D printed using Stratasys’ color, multi-material 3D printing technology. This enabled Widrig to produce the complex geometries of each piece in a range of materials, in life-size human scale (size: 1751 x 452 x 292mm [Female], 1848 x 627 x 342mm [Male]). Drawing inspiration from both human form and abstract futuristic structures, Widrig combined color with rigid and flexible materials - achievable through Stratasys’ color, multi-material 3D printing technology - to create the fluid, human-like characteristics of the pieces, while also enabling Widrig to portray an alien presence.

DESCENDANTS by Daniel Widrig in collaboration with Stratasys produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D printing technology. Size (Female): 1751 x 452 x 292. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

“Having used 3D printing for almost a decade, it is now a natural part of my studio’s workflow, and the intricate geometries of the sculptures simply could not have been produced on this scale in any other way,” continues Widrig. “There was a unique synergy in employing Stratasys’ cutting-edge multi-material 3D printing capabilities and production techniques on a project that focuses on synthetic lifeforms and advanced technologies, which adds a real sense of authenticity and depth to the collection. Working with Stratasys has provided us a great opportunity to design and realize an ambitious project that otherwise would never have been possible.”

“Widrig’s artwork forms part of Stratasys’ 3D printed collection that will be showcased at the ‘GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution’ exhibition, which focuses on the artistic use of the latest technologies and the new realities being shaped by the ongoing technological evolution,” says Naomi Kaempfer, Creative Director, Art Fashion Design, Stratasys. “Descendants is yet another perfect example of Stratasys’ core purpose in revolutionizing the way things are made.”

Stratasys 3D Printers are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Printing Solutions provider. From 3D Printers, 3D Parts, 3D Scanners including Printer Maintenance services and consumables for Stratasys 3D printers, Objective3D is the largest distributor of Stratasys 3D Printers across Australia and New Zealand, and were recently awarded the Stratasys Customer Satisfaction and Support Award for 2013 for the Asia Pacific region. 

Objective3D is also a total solutions provider of 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

For more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ) or try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTING SYSTEM if you have need a 3D Part Printed.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Jay Leno Uses 3D Printing to Replace Parts for His Huge Antique Car Collection

Jay Leno has a lot of old cars with a lot of obsolete parts. When he needs to replace these parts, he skips the error-prone machinist and goes to his rapid prototyping 3D printer. Simply scan, print and repeat.


Learn the benefits of 3D Printing for the classic car industry. Come visit Objective3D at stand 107 at the Motor Classica and you stand a chance to win $300 worth of 3D Printed Parts

One of the hardships of owning an old car is rebuilding rare parts when there are simply no replacements available. My 1907 White Steamer has a feedwater heater, a part that bolts onto the cylinders. It's made of aluminum, and over the 100-plus years it's been in use, the metal has become so porous you can see steam and oil seeping through. I thought we could just weld it up. But it's badly impregnated with oil and can't be repaired. If we tried, the metal would just come apart.


So, rather than have a machinist try to copy the heater and then build it, we decided to redesign the original using a 3D scanner and Stratasys Dimension 3D printer. These incredible devices allow you to make the form you need to create almost any part. The scanner creates a highly detailed digital model. The 3D printer makes an exact copy of a part in plastic, which we then send out to create a mold. Some machines can even make a replacement part in cobalt-chrome with the direct laser sintering process. Just feed a plastic wire--for a steel part you use metal wire--into the appropriate laser cutter.

Inside the printer, the print head goes back and forth, back and forth, putting on layer after layer of plastic to form a 3D part. If there are any irregularities in the originals, you can remove them using software. Once the model is finished, any excess support material between moving parts is dissolved in a water-based solution. Complexity doesn't matter, but the size of the object does determine the length of the process. Making a little part might take 5 hours. The White's feedwater heater required 33 hours.


Any antique car part can be reproduced with these machines--pieces of trim, elaborately etched and even scrolled door handles. If you have an original, you can copy it. Or you can design a replacement on the computer, and the 3D printer makes it for you.

People say, "Why not just give the part to your machinist to make?" Well, if the machinist makes it wrong, you still have to pay for it. The scanner allows you to make an exact copy in plastic, fit it and see that it's correct. Even when you take plans to a machinist, it can be tricky. Say the part must be 3 mm thick here and 5 mm there. You get it back and then, "Oh no, it doesn't fit; it's too thick," or "It's too thin." My setup lets you create the perfect part. And you could press the button again and again--and keep making the part--twice the size, half-size, whatever you need. If you have a part that's worn away, or has lost a big chunk of metal, you can fill in that missing link on the computer. Then you make the part in plastic and have a machinist make a copy based on that example. Or you can do what we do--input that program into a Fadal CNC machine; it reads the dimensions and replicates an exact metal copy.

Some guys are so used to working in the traditional ways. They're old-school. So they've never seen this new technology in use--in fact, they're not even aware it exists. When you work on old cars, you tend to work with old machinery like lathes, milling machines or English wheels. When someone tells you that you can take a crescent wrench, for example, scan it, then press a button, copy it, and make a new wrench, these guys say, "Well, that's not possible. You can't make the little wheel that moves the claw in and out. You'd have to make it in two sections."

But they're wrong. You can duplicate the whole tool.

They stand in front of the machine and watch a wrench being made, and they still don't believe it. It's like The Jetsons. George Jetson would say, "I want a steak dinner." He'd press a button and the meal would come out of the machine, with the roasted potatoes and everything, all on one plate. We may not have the instant steak dinner yet--but my 3D Scanner system is like the car-guy equivalent.

If you had a one-off Ferrari engine, you could scan each part and then re-create the entire motor. Right now, we're scanning a Duesenberg body. It's a classic example of high tech melding with old tech. There are cars sitting in garages around the country, and they haven't moved in years for lack of some unobtainable part. Now they can hit the road once more, thanks to this technology.

My 1907 White engine would never have run again because its slide valve (or D-valve) was shot. We built that part, and now the car is back on the street.

Let's say you have an older Cadillac or a Packard, and you can't get one of those beautifully ornate door handles. You could go to the big swap meet in Hershey, Pa., every day for the rest of your life and never find it. Or you could take the one on the left side of your car, copy it, use the computer to reverse it, and put that new part on the other side.


It's an amazingly versatile technology. My EcoJet supercar needed air-conditioning ducts. We used plastic parts we designed, right out of the 3D copier. We didn't have to make these scoops out of aluminum--plastic is what they use in a real car. And the finished ones look like factory production pieces.

When I was in high school, a friend's father bought the new Pulsar LED watch. He paid $2200 for it. It had a red face; you pressed a button, it lit up and gave you the time. The next year I bought a similar watch from Texas Instruments for $19.99. I went over and showed it to my friend's dad, and he was sooo angry.

These 3D Printing machines are not suited for mass production, but they work well for rapid prototyping. Just as eBay has made many swap meets go away, this machine could eliminate the need to go to eBay for parts. Think about it: What old part do you want to make?

Learn the benefits of 3D Printing for the classic car industry. Come visit Objective3D at stand 107 at the Motor Classica and you stand a chance to win $300 worth of 3D Printed Parts




Source: www.popularmechanics.com

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

3D Printed Parts Help Launch a New Era of Recreational Aviation

ICON Aircraft is betting on a future where private recreational planes are as popular as powerboats and motorcycles. Its ICON A5 is a giant step toward that goal: A plane that “will handle like a sports car with the top down,” according to the Discovery Channel. To speed this beauty onto the runway for a major air show, they came to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. We not only saved ICON time and money, our approach enabled complex features that other manufacturing methods could not.



ICON Aircraft recently took flight with the unveiling of its ICON A5, a small, recreational plane that its founder, Kirk Hawkins, hopes will revolutionize a market already enamored with powerboats and motorbikes. He calls the two-seat ICON A5 “the ultimate recreational vehicle,” able to reach speeds up to 120 miles per hour.

Speed was important when it came to creating some of the aircraft’s parts, too. The unveiling of the plane at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wis., drove the decision to use Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s rapid prototyping services to create the plane’s eight air ducting parts, according to Matthew Gionta, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering, ICON Aircraft.

“Using Stratasys Direct Manufacturing eliminated the tooling process for us,” Gionta said. “We put the parts in place on the airplane and then laminated structural composites over them. They became a tool for the structural part. Otherwise, we would have machined the molds and then laminated composite parts into them.” Gionta estimated that ICON Aircraft gained two to three weeks on the schedule, as well as saved $2,000 and two person-days per part for tooling. “That’s a pretty significant amount,” he added.

Creating parts for a special aircraft required some special considerations. “Minimum part thickness was a big driver for us. We wanted to keep the weight as light as possible,” said Gionta. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing representatives recommended a 0.06 inch thickness to maximize handling and still keep the weight down. Some of the parts were seven feet long.



Gionta chose ABS material, which can withstand the projected heat deflection above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. He also used Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s Ready Part process to provide a smooth finish. “Some parts are on the outer surface of the plane and visible,” he said. “It saved us some extra body work time.”

Parts created at Stratasys Direct Manufacturing included two 3D air intake units underneath the wings to bring in outside air to cool the engine. Because he was familiar with rapid prototyping, Gionta designed the parts to be more intricate. “I took advantage of the process and included intricate turning vanes inside the ducts that we couldn’t have manufactured by hand,” he said. “I put in extra features that we would not have been able to accommodate without very complex tooling. The result made for a higher performing duct.”

From start to finish, Gionta was impressed with the Stratasys Direct Manufacturing service. “I liked the process of uploading the file and receiving a quote back automatically,” he said. “When I had additional questions, I worked with a Stratasys Direct Manufacturing rep to optimize the design of the part to be more cost-efficient.” Gionta was even impressed with the way the parts arrived. “I was impressed with the packaging when the parts came to us,” he added. “The expediency of the service was fantastic.”


Although initially driven by a tight schedule, ICON Aircraft saved time, money and labor by using Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Gionta’s advice to others? “Take the leap of faith,” he said. “Once you have, you’re going to get hooked.”

Sounds a lot like flying…!

Direct 3D Printing services is available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D Service Bureau. Objective3D Service Bureau provides 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

Try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE or for more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)

Objective3D will also be hosting a Breakfast Seminar which looks at Additive Manufacturing for the Aerospace and Defence Industry on 16th Oct from 8am onwards. There are still places available if interest. For more details click here



Monday, 5 October 2015

Printing Hearts

Doctors at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute utilize 3D printing technology from Stratasys Direct Manufacturing to recreate accurate models of their patients’ hearts before performing surgery.


As the physicians at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) can attest, the heart is an enormously complex organ; no two human hearts are exactly the same. In fact, because of the organ’s complexity, it is virtually impossible for even the most brilliant physician to diagnose a heart condition without extensive imaging of the patient’s heart. While CT scans, echocardiograms, and ultrasounds, among other technological advances, have made incredible progress for doctors in the field of cardiology, the study of heart conditions, there’s no comparison to being able to see an actual model of the human heart in question—one the physician can hold in his or her hands.

Dr. Vikram Devaraj, director of solid materials research for the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Research Foundation had the idea to improve upon the preparation for open-heart surgery by using 3D printing technology to give the physicians at TCAI access to anatomically-accurate representations of their patients’ hearts.

“Dr. Horton and I, and Dr. Beaman, came together on this project to figure out a way to make additive manufactured models of the heart, from direct CT scans.” Dr. Devaraj explains.

However, without the budget, capacity or expertise needed to own and operate an additive manufacturing system, Dr. Devaraj and TCAI turned to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing to print models of patients’ hearts on demand, with extreme precision and rapid turnaround. They also knew that with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing the files would be handled safely and securely.

As Dr. Devaraj explains, the CAD files used to create the models are taken directly from the patient’s CT scans, so the printed heart model is an extremely accurate representation of the patient’s own anatomy. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing then optimizes the CAD file for 3D printing and uses Stereolithography (SL) technology to build the models. SL uses UV lasers to cure liquid resins layer by layer and is among the most precise 3D printing technologies. The clear resins available in SL also make it an ideal process for the project, with the transparent material giving doctors and patients a chance to see intricate internal valve structures and better prepare for the procedure.

“It was suddenly a way to look at the internal organs without having to open someone up. And frankly, even if you open someone up, it’s not the same; it doesn’t look the same. […] Having this type of 3-dimensional mapping and printing of an actual heart  of that particular patient is invaluable in speeding up and improving safety and efficacy of the procedure,” explains Dr. Rodney Horton, M.D., F.A.C.C., cardiac arrhythmia specialist, who worked alongside Dr. Devaraj to bring his idea to life.

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing works directly with TCAI on an ongoing basis in order to produce the printed hearts from CT scans. The hearts can be printed and delivered to the physicians in a matter of hours, enabling the physicians to study the models before performing open-heart surgery on a patient.

As Dr. Horton puts it, “If a surgeon needs to repair something, they have this in their hand before they open up the chest. So it’s enormously valuable from that standpoint.”

The ability to produce unique patient models is just one way additive manufacturing has shifted the health care industry away from a one-size-fits-all approach to more customized solutions for improving outcomes. Freed from the design and capital constraints of traditional manufacturing—and with further advancements in additive materials and processes—doctors and medical institutions will continue finding new ways to provide better care for all of us.

Direct 3D Printing services is available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D Service Bureau. Objective3D Service Bureau provides 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

Try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE or for more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)