Monday, December 17, 2012

Using 'Open Source' 3D Printing in Healthcare



During 2012, we saw a dramatic increase in the study and use of 3D printing technology by biotechnology firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications. Building organs and body parts using 'open' 3D printing techniques, layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium or sugar matrix and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures. This field of biotech research has been variously referred to as organ printing, bio-printing, body part printing and computer-aided tissue engineering, among other terms.



3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing or desktop fabrication, involves a process for making three dimensional (3D) solid objects from a digital model. The use of additive manufacturing, or 3D fabrication machines, takes virtual designs from computer aided design (CAD) or modeling software, transforms them into thin, virtual, horizontal cross-sections and then creates successive layers until the model is complete.



3D Printing Systems



Numerous individuals, open source groups, do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts, academic institutions, and companies are working on the development of 3D printers suitable for desktop use at a price many households may be able to afford. Example of some of the more notable 3D projects and solutions to date include:



·    RepRap Project
·    Fab@Home
·    Solidoodle
·    SeeMeCNC
·    Printrbot
·    3DSystems
·    MakerBot
·    Stratasys
·    Cubify
·    Objet



The development of low cost, open source 3D printers is rapidly gaining attention in the developing world  as it enables individuals or small companies to easily and economically make products from readily available resources to meet the needs of local communities.



While initially used to more rapidly develop prototypes of new products back in the 1980's, as the years have gone by and the technology has advanced, additive manufacturing or 3D printing has moved further down the chain into business manufacturing processes, often in many unforeseen ways.



Open Source Software for 3D Printing



If you or your organization is just getting started with 3D printing, you might want to try some of the free and open source 3D modeling software products such as:






* Check out other free and open source software here. Commercial software such as CAD software AutoCAD, Rhino, Maya, and SolidWorks are also good for designing 3D models.



The standard data interface between CAD software and 3D printers is the Standard Tessellation Language (STL) file format. A digitized 3D-model is saved in STL format and then sent to a 3D printer. The 3D printer then lays down successive layers of liquid, powder or sheet material that are then fused together to create the final object.



3D Printing & Healthcare



Over the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the study and use of 3D printing technology by biotechnology firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications. Building organs and body parts using 3D printing techniques, layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium or sugar matrix and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures. This field of biotech research has been variously referred to as organ printing, bio-printing, body part printing and computer-aided tissue engineering, among other terms. Check out some of the most recent news clips or articles about 3D printing in healthcare:











* Read about other examples of 3D Printing in Medicine at 3DPrinter.net



Open source 3D printing may be destined to become even more ubiquitous than open source computing platforms are today.  To some, 3D printing may still seem like a science fiction concept, but to those who are willing to open their eyes, it is here now.  

Pay attention to the growing open source hardware (OSHW) and 3D printing movement!





3D Printing – Other Selected Links

·    3Ders.org 
·    3DPrinter.net
·    BioPrinters
·    Thingiverse
·    Shapeways
·    Singularity Hub


1 comment:

Sweet Fairy said...

Nice post with great details. I need a Plastic card printing machine for home use. Where i can get the best one?