The medical field is one of the largest adopters of AM technologies. However, it’s also one of the toughest to introduce new products into, due to high standards regulations. We’ve seen customized splints, hip replacements, surgical equipment, and doctors aren’t quite done yet. There are lots of commonplace medical items to analyze and redesign through AM like, for example, bespoke heart valves that could help deal with upcoming shortages. Now that AM has claimed its place within the medical toolset, more advanced and exotic applications are being explored with greater confidence. Breast implant reconstruction scaffolds printed with biocompatible materials all the way to swarms of drug-delivering micro-bots and bioprinting research. It’s been a long road to get here, but the doors are now more open than ever.
3D printing could meet rising demand for heart valves
If Swiss researchers have their way, artificial heart valves could simply come out of 3D printers in future. Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), along with South African company Straight Access Technologies (SAT) has developed a silicone replacement for the heart valves used today. However, it will take at least ten years before the custom-made artificial heart valves can be used.
Read more at SWI.
This startup is 3D printing breast implants for cancer survivors
[Lattice Medical] creates 3D-printed breast implants which, unlike common silicone implants, dissolve into the body after a year. But the real magic is that in that time the company has a method for regrowing the natural breast tissue so that patients are ultimately left with natural breasts after just a single operation.
Keep reading on Sifted.
Georgia Tech Aims To Scale Micro 3D Printing And Produce Ant Robot Army
Barely visible to the human eye, a breed of microscopic 3D printed robots has been developed at Georgia Institute of Technology. Deemed “micro-bristle-bots” the devices can be be controlled by minute vibrations, making them capable of transporting materials, and detecting changes in the environment. Working together, like ants, the robots’ potential multiplies, unlocking a range of varied applications along the boundaries of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. The Georgia Tech team is now looking at ways to scale-up the micro 3D printing method used to make the bots, and produce “hundreds or thousands” of the devices in a single build.
Read the full article here.
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We’ve heard so much buzz about how AM is poised to be the end-all be-all manufacturing technology. Alas, there are many things that it still can’t quite achieve and that is where we take a step back and either make do with what we have or invent our way into the unexplored. For example, very small-scale 3D printing is not yet deemed at high enough resolution for certain medical applications and doesn’t allow for the level of manufacturing flexibility it would require: that’s when MIT designed a new layer-based manufacturing method capable of overcoming AM’s shortcomings. Some other times it’s just a matter of resources, where AM is the pricier alternative, albeit unmatched in some cases. Arup has shown that AM can become a facilitator of older techniques like casting, providing complex shapes in the form of sand molds, chopping away at the expenses of direct metal printing. Likewise, hybrid manufacturing is giving businesses the flexibility to choose the most beneficial production method depending on the design and final use. More and more we are seeing the rise of big manufacturing power-machines, like the latest Fraunhofer/CMS 5 axis brainchild.
3D Fabrication Technique Allows for Multiple Vaccinations in Single Injection
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a 3D fabrication technique that would allow multiple doses of a drug or vaccine to be delivered to a patient over an extended period of time. According to research scientist Ana Jaklenec, they were unable to create these structures using current 3D printing methods. Instead, the team used a new method called SEAL (StampEd Assembly of polymer Layers).
Check out the full article at All3DP.
Arup Develops Affordable 3D-Printing Sand Casts for Complex Steel Structural Elements
Working with the Anglo-Dutch company 3Dealise, Arup 3D-printed sand molds are used in the traditional casting process to create sophisticated, unique structural steel nodes as a certified material. Sand printing offers a quick technique that can reuse the materials and allows costs to be kept low.
Keep reading at Archdaily.
Fraunhofer IWU And CMD Partner To Make Mega 5 Axis 3D Printer Hybrid
The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) in Chemnitz, Germany, has entered into a partnership with Italian machine center makers CMS to research and develop a new hybrid CNC milling 3D printer. Operating beyond the bounds of typical XYZ directional 3D printers, the named CMS Kreator is capable of tool paths across 5 axis, bringing more freedom to the possibilities of FDM.
Read the full article here.
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