How 3D Printing Helps in Education

Planting Seeds of Wonder and Creativeness in School

You might say that 3D printed products can also help in the field of education but is it not just a matter of show-and-tell. 3D printing can help students and teachers alike in closing the gap between imagination and the real thing. In their hands, the object of concern is handled, inspected, analyzed or manipulated in the interest of learning and know-how. It becomes real learning as students develop world skills helped by resources that inspire and support ideas. Imagine what a student can make of himself or herself being able to dream and create.

What type of students benefit from the wonders of 3D printing and how does it affect their level of learning? For our youngest set of school learners it is the engagement of students with their subject, especially if a project-based strategic learning approach is used, that pricks their imagination and sustains their interest. For those in middle school, exposure to 3D printing develops problem-solving skills necessary to face more challenging work after graduation. Critical and analytical skills will thus be enhanced.

Those in technical schools can look forward to a bright future in manufacturing which is a globally important arena for talents. Various fields in manufacturing are in need of great minds to further their industries. Advances in cutting edge technology offered by 3D printing prepare colleges and universities for the challenges of a highly technical world in the immediate future. 3D printers enable students to gain critical academic experience, create cross-departmental collaboration and foster student entrepreneurship.

Bridging the Gap Between Raw and Real

3D printing experience can enable engineering and architectural students to print prototypes and 3D models. Graphic design students can print versions of their artwork. Historical artifacts for examination can help history classes, while printed topography, demographic, or population maps can aid geography. 3D models of molecules and compounds are essential tools for those who do chemistry and print out of cells, organs and biological artifacts are helpful for those in biology. Finally, in the field of research, 3D printing can expand research efforts by creating vivid prototypes to better illustrate ideas.

Become one of our many satisfied customers at 3D Composites. If you are a student with a bright idea, learn more from us and we might just turn it into something awesome.

skin cells

Bio-Printed New Skin: More than Skin-Deep

The Bio-Printer and the Bioprinted Skin

Half a world away in Spain, a new bio-printer claims to be able to make new skin. A team of experts at the Carlos III University of Madrid came out with a machine reportedly capable of 3D-printing sheets of functional human skin for use in research or even for transplants. If it breaks through, it can make possible skin grafting using a patient’s own skin obsolete.

The new 3D printer, or aptly bioprinter, uses bio-inks made up of skin cells, plasma, proteins, and other biological components known to exist in human skin, as fibroblasts and keratinocytes. By the principle of additive manufacturing, the computer will selectively and precisely deposit layers of biolinks on the print bed. Critical to the system is how to mix the components under certain conditions and the precise depositing to prevent deterioration of the cells.

The final product produced should consists of what natural skin is – outer layer called the epidermis and the deeper, thicker layer called the dermis, which contains collagen-producing fibroblast.

For purposes of research, as in the field of pharmaceuticals or of cosmetics, the bioprinted skin can be derived from any human skin cells, such as those obtained from skin biopsies . But if it is for therapeutic treatment, as in transplants, burns, and other forms of skin injury, the patient’s own skin cells are required. It takes approximately 2 weeks to grow new skin in the laboratory, and a day or two to print them.

Research facilities in other countries have also manufactured their own bioprinting machines and printed skin derived from patient’s own skin cells. One such facility is based in the University of Toronto and their reports were released in 2014.

These results demonstrate that 3D bioprinting is a suitable technology to generate bioengineered skin for therapeutical and industrial applications in an automatized manner.

Bioprinting Skin Not Too Far Off in Seattle

While bioprinted skin is still in its research stage, your 3D printing company in Seattle, 3D Composites, has its own contributions to medical science and therapeutics. Ask us about your ideas.

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3D Printed Bone Grafts

3D-Printed Bone Grafts: The Future of Fracture

3D Printing Mimics Real Bone

The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan, Department of Engineering, through the efforts of a brilliant research assistant, Hossein Montazerian, is modeling and creating artificial bone grafts via 3D printing. He hopes that where artificial bone replacements are concerned, 3D printed grafts will answer the unmet needs of complex bone grafting in surgery.

While human bone is resilient, injured or fractured bone will need replacement, sometimes multiple surgeries and painful recoveries. To replace a fracture, surgeons may have to take a patient’s normal bone and transfer it to the injured part using conventional bone grafts. By using the patient’s own bone fragments, they mix and integrate well with the patient’s fractured bone and associated connective tissue.

Montazerian’s new design for artificial bones ensures that 3D printed bone parts have the same unique porosity of bone, the same permeability and elasticity. Although artificial, the parts are made stronger, safer and functionally effective. This means that parts can be customized to fit a patient’s particular situation, the surgeon will not need to transplant bone, effectively decreasing operation time and is less traumatic for the patient.

Montazerian analyzed 240 different bone graft designs, 3D printing the top performing ones using the powder-based method of printing. He also utilized numerical procedures to determine the best pore characteristics for normal bone stiffness, strength, and permeability.

The grafts were made of calcium sulfate scaffolds using TPMS-based unit cells, or Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces that are present in natural shapes and structures. He focused on those that make strong and porous bones and subject them to mechanical and compression tests.

The aim of this type of regenerative medicine is to replace missing or damaged bone tissue with 3D printed synthetic grafts with their interconnected scaffolds to allow adhesion, growth, and proliferation of the human bone cells. Montazerian said that the ultimate goal is to produce a replacement that almost perfectly mimics real bone.

No Bone of Contention in Seattle

At 3D Composites, your 3D printing company in Seattle, we also do designs that transform into medical wonders. If you have an idea to help advance the cause of medical breakthroughs, talk to us about it.

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By 2023: 3D Printing Market is Worth $32.78B

REPORT: US Leads the 3D Printing Market

MarketsandMarkets, a global market research and consulting company (based India) released a news article, distributed by SBWIRE to Seattle, Washington, that reports about the global forecasted growth of the 3D printing market six years from now. A staggering $32.78 billion is what the market is going to be worth in 2023, a CAGR of 25.76% between 2017 and 2023.

What drives this growth? The report says that the main factors are the ease of development of customized products, ability to reduce overall manufacturing costs, and government investments in 3D printing projects. The report includes data and figures of the market subdivided in segments – by Offering (Printer, Material, Software, Service), Process (Binder Jetting, Direct Energy Deposition, Material Extrusion, Material Jetting, Powder Bed Fusion), Application, Vertical, and Geography.

Let’s start with printers. Desktop printers are expected to grow at a higher CAGR between 2017 and 2023. A lot of hobbyists and professionals use desktop printers owing to their affordable cost, availability, wide range of possibilities to innovate and customize, and introduction of newer materials.

Of all the printing materials, plastics and metal make up the largest and second largest share of materials used for 3D printing in 2016. They are still expected to lead the materials segment into the future. However, there are segments expected to grow bigger. Biomaterials used in the healthcare vertical are increasing in demand, and certain specialized materials (such as laywood, wax, paper) in emerging applications. New verticals are also on the rise – electronics, biomedical, pharmaceuticals, and construction – and with that are their own printing materials.

Speaking of verticals, aerospace and defense were leading in 2016. Other emerging verticals expected to grow tremendously are food and culinary, printed electronics, education, and energy.
By geography, North America leads, in particular is the US. That’s because North America leads the demand from aerospace and defense, healthcare, education, and consumer products.

Also, strong government support and presence of key manufacturers add to the growth. And who are the key players? Top five are: Stratasys Ltd. (US), 3D Systems Corporation (US), EOS GmbH (Germany), Materialise NV (Belgium), and SLM Solutions Group AG (Germany).

A Slice of the US Pie in Seattle

With our range of 3D printers, new printing materials, the top markets we service, and our technical expertise and long experience speak of the prestige and respect we enjoy in this part of Seattle. If you have a 3D printing idea, let’s talk about it.

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Revolutionizing Cardiology via 3D Printing in Seattle

The Heart of the Matter

A biomedical engineer, stem cell engineers, clinical cardiologists, and some 3D printing experts came together to successfully come up with a high-tech solution that could revolutionize cardiology.

Bear in mind that as hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer or die from myocardial infarction, doctors continue to resort to modern advances in pharmaceuticals and technology to find better cures for MI and other life-threatening cardiac conditions. The problem, really, is that heart muscle damaged by a cardiac event will develop scar tissue at the site, reducing heart function to a significant degree.

This is not about specific medications, or catheters or stents or other known interventions that can improve survival rates or save a patient’s life. With the exception of a heart transplant, there may not be any other long-term solution to damaged heart muscle. So comes in our team of researchers aiming to mend broken hearts by means of a special 3D printed scaffold – a stem cell-derived cardiac muscle patch.

From the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the team used stem cells derived cardiac muscle and actually mixed those with other cell types needed for blood vessels. This will block the formation of fibroblasts, which produce the scar tissue. They created the patch, a biocomplex of printed layers, and tried it on cardiac arrest-induced mice. This was a comparative study using 2 groups of rodents, half were given the cell mix patch and the other half, cell-free patches.

Significant improvements were seen in the functional capacity of the rodent hearts with crell mix patches after just four weeks. It showed marked reduction in adverse remodeling of damaged heart tissue and preservation of cardiac performance. Measurements of cardiac function, infarct size, apoptosis (or cell death), both vascular and arteriole density, and cell proliferation at week 4 after treatment were significantly better. Continuous electric signal generated across the patch, and then paced, increased the frequency of the heart beats.

This in effect strengthens heart muscle allowing better circulation and more efficient distribution of nutrients to the injured heart areas. By and large the research outcomes looked very promising though more studies are needed to be conclusive about this direction.

3D Printing in Seattle: Influx into Living Tissue

The above research outcome is the result of tissue engineering brought about by amazing 3D printing. Know more how 3D printing can change the outlook of cardiac health and other many bio-engineered fields that can benefit from 3D printing. Visit us in Seattle now.