Australian-made 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implanted into NY patient

An Australian-made 3D-printed sternum and rib cage has successfully been implanted into a 20-year-old New York patient who had been diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced on Thursday.

The 3D-printed titanium and polymer sternum and rib cage was produced by the CSIRO in partnership with Melbourne-based medical device company Anatomics.

The patient, Penelope Heller, had to have her sternum removed after being diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in 2014. While the cancer was successfully removed, Heller’s replacement sternum and rib cage that was developed using off-the-shelf solutions made post-operation life painful.

In August this year, she underwent additional surgery to replace her implant with a customised sternum and partial rib cage made from 3D-printed titanium and combined with Anatomics’ PoreStar technology, which is a porous polyethylene material providing “bone-like” architecture to facilitate tissue integration, the CSIRO said.

“3D printing allows for advanced personalisation of implants so they uniquely fit their recipients, as well as rapid manufacture, which could mean the difference between life and death for a patient waiting for surgery,” the Australian government-backed organisation added.

The organisation claims it is the first time this technology has been used in the United States.

The CSIRO and Anatomics had previously partnered to produce sternum and rib cage prosthetics for a 54-year-old sarcoma patient in Spain in 2015. The CSIRO said at the time the patient’s surgical team knew the surgery would be difficult due to the complicated geometries involved in the chest cavity, and decided the customisable 3D-printed sternum and rib cage was the best option.

Once the prosthetics were made, it was sent to Spain and implanted into the patient. 12 days after the surgery, the patient was discharged and recovered well, the CSIRO then said.

That operation followed on from the production of a 3D-printed titanium heel bone that prevented an Australian cancer patient from having his leg amputated in 2014.

A 61-year-old British man received 3D-printed titanium and polymer sternum in 2016 after his sternum was removed due to a rare infection. The CSIRO said it was the first time a titanium sternum combined with a synthetic polymer has been used to replace bone, cartilage, and tissue in a patient.

Late last year, Brisbane-based and Australian-listed Oventus Medical announced opening a new 3D printing facility at the CSIRO’s Clayton, Victoria campus to produce its O2Vent device — a customisable, 3D-printed titanium mouthguard designed to ensure optimal airflow and reduce the effects of snoring for sleep apnoea sufferers.

Oventus had been developing O2Vent for almost three years prior to the opening of its 3D printing facility, and an initial prototype of the O2Vent, which completed successful clinical trials, was 3D-printed at CSIRO’s Lab22 facility.

Latest Australian news

Casio's Mofrel 2.5D printer can print realistic textures like leather & fabric onto paper

Oct 16, 2017 | By Tess

Last year, we wrote about how Japanese electronics company Casio was developing a 2.5D printing technology which would allow users to easily print embossed, textured surfaces on paper. Now, Casio has finally unveiled its 2.5D printer, a machine called Mofrel, and recently demonstrated the novel technology at the CEATEC event in Japan.

While it is hard to define what 2.5D printing is—where exactly is the line between 2D and 3D printing?—Casio has taken up the name to describe its new Mofrel printer, which uses a multi-step printing process and special paper to create full-color, textured images.

The company says its 2.5D printing system will have applications in a number of industries, such as the automotive sector, where the printing can be used to create car interior prototypes, as well as the textile industry, as the printer is well suited for recreating patterns and textures of various materials, such as leather and fabrics.

How exactly does Casio’s Mofrel printer work? Firstly, the technology relies on a special type of paper which is made up of several layers, including a base paper layer, a foam layer, and a top inkjet layer. The foam layer is key to the process, as it contains thermally expandable plastic microcapsules which expand when exposed to heat.

In simple terms, once a user has a desired pattern and texture they want printed, they feed the paper into the Mofrel machine which prints said pattern onto the back of the page using an infrared and heat-absorbing black ink. Next, the paper can be reinserted into the printer (with the opposite side facing up) and the full-color print will be made.

The final stage is to apply heating to the back of the page, a step Casio calls “forming,” which causes the middle foam layer to expand according to the heat-absorbing grayscale pattern on the paper’s back.

Casio also points out that it is possible to vary the amount the foam expands simply by varying the degree of ink used in the grayscale print, though users shouldn’t have to worry too much about this step as Casio has developed a program which generates the grayscale data automatically based off the 3D design.

While the Mofrel 2.5D printing system may fall closer to the 2D side of printing technology, Casio’s technology still seems like a handy way to create texturally and visually realistic surfaces for prototyping purposes. We could even see the printer being used to create surfaces to be stuck on 3D printed prototypes to give clients an accurate picture of what a final product will look and feel like.

Posted in 3D Printer

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Formlabs Announces Faster Biocompatible Materials for Long-Term Use

SOMERVILLE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Formlabs, the designer and manufacturer of powerful and accessible 3D printing systems, today announced the release of Dental LT Clear, the first long-term biocompatible resin in desktop 3D printing for orthodontic applications for orthodontic devices. Formlabs also released improvements to its Dental SG Resin, reducing print speeds for surgical guides by up to 50 percent.

“Since entering the dental market in 2016, Formlabs has quickly established itself as the premier player in dental 3D printing,” said Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs. “We now command the largest dental 3D printer user base, have sold thousands of printers to dental professionals, and are growing at a pace of over 600 percent year on year. All of this has catalyzed an industry-wide shift to 3D printing and digital dentistry.”

The fastest Formlabs material to date, Dental LT Clear can be used to print splints and retainers in less than 50 minutes for a single unit. Full-build platforms, with up to seven splints, can be completed in under two hours.

With the latest PreForm software update, Form 2 3D printer users can also benefit from speed improvements in Formlabs’ Dental SG Resin. Single surgical guide prints will now be 50 percent faster, while full builds benefit from a 20 percent speed boost.

“We couldn’t be more excited by how quickly 3D printing is becoming part of the standard of care in dentistry,” said Gideon Balloch, Dental Product Lead at Formlabs. “Over 50,000 surgeries have been performed with a Formlabs printed surgical guide — and that’s just 10 percent of what dental users are doing with our printers. Dental LT Clear adds yet another digital workflow to a library that offers professionals more efficient, accurate and affordable production methods, enabling faster treatments for patients with better clinical outcomes. It’s only going to continue to grow.”

In addition to new product releases, Formlabs continues to build on its unabated growth via deepening partnership and distribution deals with 3Shape and Henry Schein, some of the largest players in the dental market.

Interested customers can request a free sample of Formlabs’ Dental LT Clear or Dental SG material here.

Additional links:

Photos/press kit
Ordering Dental LT Clear

About Formlabs

Formlabs designs and manufactures powerful and accessible 3D printing systems. Headquartered in Boston with offices in Germany, Japan, and China, the company was founded in 2011 by a team of engineers and designers from the MIT Media Lab and Center for Bits and Atoms. Formlabs is establishing the industry benchmark for professional 3D printing for engineers, designers, and manufacturers around the globe, and accelerating innovation in a variety of industries, including education, dentistry, healthcare, jewelry, and research. Formlabs products include the Form 2 SLA 3D printer, Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, Form Cell manufacturing solution, and Pinshape marketplace of 3D designs. Formlabs also develops its own suite of high-performance materials for 3D printing, as well as best-in-class 3D printing software.

3D printing changing key questions around weapon systems acquisitions

The Marine Corps’ use of additive manufacturing will change questions surrounding acquisitions to reflect the technology’s ability to sustain weapon systems, according to a service official. Additive manufacturing will “aid in that sustainment, particularly as weapon systems get older and . . . there’s less incentive for industry to even make the parts anymore,” Col. Howard Marotto, additive manufacturing lead for the Next Generation Logistics cell, told Inside the Navy in an Oct. 4 interview at the Pentagon. “If we…

Impossible Objects raises $6.4M to grow staff in marketing, sales and R&D

Additive manufacturing startup Impossible Objects just stacked up a $6.4 million Series A.

Returning investor OCA Ventures led the round, which was also joined by IDEA Fund Partners, Mason Avenue Investments, Huizenga Capital Management and Inflection Equity Partners.

“3D printing is on a trajectory to disrupt traditional manufacturing,” said CEO Larry Kaplan. “We believe that we’ll accelerate that trajectory and be at the forefront of it.”

Impossible Objects uses composite-based additive manufacturing technology –– or CBAM –– to create functional parts and tools quickly and at scale.

Like most 3D printing, this technology relies on adding layers of material on top of each other to create a three-dimensional object. But Impossible Objects’s technology lets users use higher-strength materials and print at a faster pace.

To Kaplan, those features mean 3D printers can replace some of the equipment used in traditional manufacturing.

“The process involves feeding 2D sheets of composite materials into what is essentially an ink jet printer,” Kaplan said. “Ordinary [ink jet] heads wet the part shape onto the fabric, and the sheet goes through a system that drops thermoplastic powder across it. The powder sticks to where the sheet was wet, and the final stack of sheets is heated and pressed. The polymer bonds the sheets together to form the part.”

Impossible Objects is currently forming partnerships with original equipment manufacturers to test pilot versions of its printers. The company’s flagship printer, the Model One, will be commercially available sometime in 2018. 

Kaplan says the company’s printers have the capability to produce everything from automotive parts to medical devices.

“Impossible Objects is leading the way by using its technology to transform how the largest corporations manufacture,” said OCA Ventures general partner Ian Drury in a statement. “The market opportunity for a revolutionary industrial additive manufacturing solution such as Impossible Objects’ CBAM is enormous and the company has huge momentum right now.”

Impossible Objects plans to use its funding to grow its research and development team along with its sales and marketing staff. The company has a current headcount of 17 full-time employees, and Kaplan said he could easily foresee the team doubling in size during 2018.


Image via Impossible Objects.

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Casio's '2.5D' Printer Opening New Dimensions of Printing

By now “3D printing” is a globally acknowledged term, but wait “2.5D printing” for sure sounds strange to ears. Casio demonstrated this Mofrel printing technology at CEATEC. The technology introduced gives a wide range of textures to regular looking printing sheets, before finishing with the final touches of a sixteen million color inkjet.

The printed models were surprisingly good and considerable. Even the patterns had great details added to them. The delicate stitch bumps, the puffiness of leather, roughness of the uneven surfaces, even the unevenness of the sewed patterns could be felt and was visible in the printed samples.

Copying of hard materials like brick, stone, wood, and ceramic is also possible, however, some of them needed an extra coating for luster and solidity.

Casio’s “digital sheets” is the secret element of this printing. They seem to be thicker than the normal paper sheets. The “digital sheets” have micro powder layer inserted in between the paper or PET substrate and the inkjet layer. The powdered particles are coated with acrylonitrile (a thermoplastic resin) and contain a hydrocarbon. The acrylonitrile and hydrocarbon combo expands on exposure to heat when the heat is removed the structure returns to its original form, hence the copied pattern is made on the printing sheet.

For controlling the texture construction, the pattern is first printed on the sheet’s top microfilm using carbon, later these infrared absorbing carbons target the heat on the wanted parts of the micro powder layer. Hideaki Terada, Executive Officer- Casio Digital Art Division said that the micro powders can expand up to 1.7 mm thickness. At present, the thickness is kept at this level to maintain steadiness. Although with some difficulty the thickness of 2 mm to 2.5 mm is also technically attainable. Once the pattern is attained the microfilm is taken off to print colors on the inkjet layer that is the textured surface.

A total span of 3 to 5 minutes is consumed for printing a regular A4 “digital sheet”, single side. An amount of $10 is the worth of each printed sheet. In comparison to normal printing sheets, these sheets may appear abrupt, but the variety of patterns possible with this technology are numerous. This technology is way too cheap and fast keeping in mind the technological miracles it’s offering.
A3 sheets can also be used for the printer. Double-sided sheets for both A3 and A4 sizes are also available but the prices are not known.

The cost of the current version of Mofrel printer is about $44,400 and will be offered as a B2B solution next year. It’s been said that some top electronic firms and automaker industries have already received an access to Mofrel and are using it for their R&D. Currently the price is a lot for normal consumers like us, but Terada has hinted about launching a consumer version, still, that would take one to one and half years’ time.

Also Read: China Approves HP’s Deal to Buy Samsung Printer Business

US Marines test adaptable 3D printed SUAS drones

Oct 4, 2017 | By Tess

The U.S. military is a big proponent of 3D printing technologies, consistently exploring new applications for the technology in order to develop improved devices and equipment and also for on-the-ground manufacturing.

One of the main uses for 3D printing in the military at the moment is the manufacturing of bespoke drones. Earlier this week, for instance, we wrote about how a Marines task force was building 3D printed “Nibbler” drones in the Middle East using an experimental 3D printing lab.

Now, marines from the 2nd Marine Division are using 3D printing to manufacture small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). This particular drone project is taking place at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The 3D printed SUAS initiative has relied on the varied expertise of the Marines division. As the Marines website states: “The technicians and engineers with U.S. Army Research Lab gathered Marines from different military occupational specialties to demonstrate the usefulness and convenience of the additive manufactured small unmanned aerial systems.”

The best part about the 3D printed SUAS drones, and the thing that sets them apart from their traditionally manufactured counterparts, is that they can be adapted and modified for particular applications. For instance, if they are to be used for surveillance missions, they might have different components than a drone used for an intelligence mission.

Eric Spero, a team leader in the vehicle technology directorate of the U.S. Army Research Lab, explained: “We have different cameras such as infrared and a day camera; there are different things we can do like stream the video to systems or a heads-up display and record it for later viewing.”

Another benefit of 3D printing the SUAS is that the technology allows them to be produced much more quickly and in an on-demand fashion, meaning that soldiers in the field could potentially manufacture drones as needed and for various uses.

In fact, the process for manufacturing the SUAS seems remarkably simple, as a catalogue of different 3D printable drone parts has been established. This system allows military members to simply choose the SUAS that their mission requires and have the 3D files downloaded to be sent to the printer.

“Basically what we are doing is combining two emerging technologies,” commented John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Research Lab. “We have taken 3D printing and quadcopters and created a means of giving troops a customized vehicle right when they need it, with the capabilities they need from it, on demand.”

(Images: U.S. Marine Corps / Taylor W. Cooper)

Impressively, a SUAS can reportedly be 3D printed, assembled, and dispatched within a 24-hour period. “These craft are the future because they’re protected by obsolescence,” added Gerdes. “We are able to give troops the technology almost immediately by printing new parts and making slight adjustments so they will always have a craft that is able to complete the mission.”

The 3D printed SUAS drones were recently tested by the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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