3D Bioprinting and Medical 3D printing

By Amal Bholah Moderator Emeritus | 01 Sep, 2015

Dear members,

There will be a conference at the University of Pecs on 3D bioprinting and Medical 3D printing.

Here is the link http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/08/31/university-pecs-host-3d-bioprinting-...

Are there members who are working on medical 3D printing? What are your experiences? Where to start ?




Patrick Mathay Replied at 11:18 AM, 1 Sep 2015

Hi Amal,

Thanks for the share.

Our organization, Range of Motion Project, is using 3D printers to deliver prosthetic care in Guatemala and Ecuador. We've partnered with several academic research partners to use our experience in healthcare delivery to inform device design specifically for our patient populations. On the business side, we've opened our printing lab to professional, hobbiest, and student communities and charge per print. The goal is to refine a revenue model that allows us to subsidize most of the cost of printing prosthesis for our patients. Overall, we've found large interest in 3D printing and have been able to offer workshops on basic and advanced 3D design, which then grows the community of makers that use our facilities for their projects.

A significant challenge has been lack of government support/understanding of the potential of 3D printing. Importation taxes on printers were recently raised to 45% in Ecuador, for example, in addition to other standard import tariffs. For this reason we are exploring options to produce our own printers domestically. Another unknown is the acceptance of 3D printed medical devices by the national ratings board, which could delay our ability to distribute 3D printed products to established medical partners and clients.

I'd be interested to hear from other's experiences working with 3D printed medical devices, especially anyone working with their own 3D printers. Also, we've considered investing in a filament recycler a la Filabot but quality/consistency is a concern. Has anyone used recycled filament for their prints, and if so, did you notice a dip in quality?

Attached resource:

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 11:36 AM, 1 Sep 2015

Patrick, for my education can you describe how much of the devices shown in the video are 3D printed? From an external observed it is hard to tell how much of this important device service/ functionality is actually compromised of 3D components. Terry

Patrick Mathay Replied at 12:22 PM, 1 Sep 2015

Hi Terry,

Most of the devices shown in the video are made with thermoformed plastic sockets and traditional components. We've been delivering O&P care in Guatemala for 10 years, so traditional prosthetic fabrication still comprises the vast majority of the devices we deliver. From 1:18 -1:26 you can see our research project with the University of Victoria. The design was originally developed 15 years ago by Prof Nick Dechev but only recently were we able to test it in the field with 3D printing technology. Most 3D printed prosthetic research is done on upper extremity components because they are non-weight bearing, although there are some teams that are trying to make PLA/ABS plastic work for lower extremity prosthetics too. It's just harder because the material science isn't there yet for consumer-level printers.

- Patrick

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 12:52 PM, 1 Sep 2015

Patrick, a great response. I had a 'link' to UVIC through Dennis Protti and Jochen Moehr several years ago. Wonderful people.

Eduardo Jezierski Replied at 6:30 PM, 1 Sep 2015

There are many different endeavors in the space - some I know personally include low-tech DIY prothesis suitable for low-income settings (eg <http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1787891-avanza-el-diseno-de-una-protesis-de-mano-a...> in argentina), to e.g. custom aortas <http://www.aorticacorp.com/> being printed for surgical replacements, which could drastically reduce costs of endografs . Organovo is also printing 'organs' out of 'cells' but it's just 'petri dish assemblies' for drug validation in labs at this stage. In the first two the value prop mostly revolve around customizability of the products to the patient's unique anatomy, and replacing unused stock of expensive commodities with a local supply chain that can make products "on demand" from fungible materials (even if they are expensive).
~ ej