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3D Printing: Getting Close to The Study of Cancer

New Research: Special 3D Printer for Bio-Medicine

There’s a specially adapted 3D printer that was made to build therapeutic biomaterials from different materials. Professor and bio-engineer Ali Khademhosseini of UCLA, who led the study and developed the Khademhosseini’s 3D printer says that scientists are hoping that it can help medical research by printing complex test materials that closely approximate real human tissue. He said that since human tissues are highly complex structures, its artificial versions should also mimic their complexities. This can be a step toward on-demand printing of complex artificial tissues for use in transplants and other surgeries.

The technique uses a light-based process called stereolithography, and it takes advantage of a customized 3D printer designed by Khademhosseini that has two key components. The first is a custom-built microfluidic chip – a small, flat platform similar in size to a computer chip, with multiple inlets that each “prints” a different material. The other component is a digital micromirror, an array of more than a million tiny mirrors that each moves independently.

Also called “automated stereolithographic bioprinting,” the components all work together. The micromirrors direct light onto the printing surface. Illuminated areas trace the outline of the 3D object. The light also triggers molecular bonds to form in a variety of hydrogel bioinks, materials that are regularly used in tissue engineering. These molecular bonds firm and harden to extent that the bioinks turn into solid material. As the 3D object is printed, the mirror array changes the light pattern to indicate the shape of each new layer.

This research used many types of hydrogels that, after passing through the printer, form scaffolds for tissue to grow into. They also experimented with simple shapes, like pyramids, then complex 3D structures that mimicked parts of muscle tissue and muscle-skeleton connective tissues. They also printed shapes mimicking tumors with networks of blood vessels, which could be used as biological models to study cancers. They tested the printed structures by implanting them in rats. The structures were not rejected.

The study was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Institutes of Health.

All For The Advancement of Science in Seattle

If you’re looking to recreate body parts or whatever device or parts of device for the advancement of medical science, see us at 3D Composites Seattle. We might just be able to help.

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What’s With Heat Treating 3D Printed Products?

Working in Tandem: Heat Treatment & 3D Printing

3D printing and heat treatment have a beneficial relationship. Heat treating of 3D printed projects has been shown to dramatically increase the strength and stiffness of certain 3D printed parts. On the other hand, 3D printing of heat treatment parts can be advantageous in the manufacturing process and subsequent properties of the 3D printed parts.

Note that practically all 3D printed materials have surfaces that are near net shaped, meaning the initial production of the object is very close to the final or net shape, reducing the need for surface finishing. There is a no compromise for contamination on any surfaces, which thereby requires temperature control during this process to remain at 2° F. Thus by combining heat treatment with 3D printing, manufacturers are able to directly thermocouple (a sensor used to measure temperature) the pieces they are producing while also improving the specific characteristics of the product being produced.

Plastic materials are mostly used in 3D printing. Polyactic acid plastic or PLA is one of the most common filaments used in 3D printers. It’s strong but occasionally brittle. By heating PLA materials quickly, after extrusion and rapid cooling, the PLA structure transforms from a previously unorganized and amorphous structure to a completely reformed structure that exhibits an increased amount of large crystals. The size and number of the crystals limit material failure and improve its response to stress.

On the other hand, when heat treated parts are 3D printed, the parts have enhanced performance while their typically bulky size and weight are reduced. This gives manufacturers freedom in the design of nonlinear geometries of these parts.

This is called thermal management, an important engineering component often used within the electronics, aerospace, automotive and energy industries. The devices used within these industries often generate excess heat that must be managed to improve its reliability and prevent premature failure of the devices. Hence, combining thermal management and 3D printing technology can lead to a whole new ballgame in the manufacturing industry, improving the performance of parts and devices at reduced size, weight and cost.

3D Printing Company in Seattle

When you need parts or devices that are 3D printable, look no further than 3D Composites Seattle and benefit from top notch product performance at reduced cost and wastage.

3D Printing: Revolutionizing Healthcare

Four Areas of Healthcare Promise

3D printing offers more and more promise in the healthcare field. While printing whole complex organs for transplants may still be in the far future, 3D printing is helping to save and improve lives in many other ways. 3D printing has figured prominently in four healthcare areas – in personalized prosthetics, in bioprinting and tissue engineering, in 3D-printed skin for burn victims, and in pharmacology.

While mass-manufactured traditional prosthesis are helpful, they are not as good as 3D-printed prosthetics that are custom-tailored for the individual user. By digitally capturing a patient’s unique measurements, a custom-fit suit can create a beautiful, lightweight design that fits the patient’s body or body part concerned. This same technology is now being harnessed to create conformal ventilated scoliosis braces, supports for amputees and more.

Medical Technology

Medical technology is now harnessing this 3D printing technology and building tiny organs, or “organoids” with stem cells as the production material. These organoids with their biomaterial will be able to grow inside the body and take over when an organic organ, such as a kidney or liver, fails. This technology started with simpler tissue-engineered structures such as skin, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, and the bladder, along with parts of more complex organs, such as heart valves, have made considerable progress.

Prototypes

3D bioprinter prototypes can produce human skin, especially for the use of burn victims. With a biological ink that contains both human plasma as well as material extracts taken from skin biopsies, about 100 square centimeters of human skin can be printed in the span of about half an hour. The possibilities for this technology, and the life-changing implications for burn victims, are endless.

To hugely simplify the daily life for patients with multiple ailments taking multiple medications, a 3D-printed pill, unlike a traditionally manufactured capsule, can contain multiple drugs at once, each with different release times. This so-called “polypill” concept has already been tested for patients with diabetes and is showing great promise.

3D printing technology and its vast promises in the fields of treatments, organs and devices, stand to revolutionize the medical field. With precision, speed and a major slash in cost, healthcare will never be the same again.

We are Certified!

ISO 9001 & AS 9100

Updated for the new year, 3D Composites is proud to be ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certified as well as ITAR compliant. Since 2016 our Seattle 3D printing company has been aligned with the international quality standards for customer service and aerospace manufacturing.

These certifications demonstrate that 3DC has met the current requirements to ensure that we are able to provide the quality products and services that our customers expect and deserve.

For us this is not only upheld by the principles of ISO 9001, but also through the commitment to our company’s own Quality Objectives.

With the collaboration of these certifications, it is our aim to provide you with parts that have been manufactured with the purpose of excellence and customer satisfaction so that you can be assured that you are getting the best that our industry has to offer.

Visit our About page to learn more about 3D Composites and our Quality page to see how we are working to serve you!

3D Printing

Easy and Cool: 3D Printed Things You Can Really Use

Cool Ideas to 3D Print

3D print your ideas! Colorful, sturdy, and certainly useful for personal use, at home, school or office. Great, personalized gifts for special occasions.

Consider a digital sundial. It’s innovative and really works. The shape of the sundial has been designed to only let through the right sun rays at the right time and angle, so it can display the actual time at 20 minute intervals.

How about a survival whistle? You can make your own original design. Design it rugged, easy to make, easy to carry, of neon color and as loud as 118 decibels! It’s perfect for emergency situations.

Consider a soap dish, a toothpaste tube squeezer, a coaster, a sliding bag clip, a bottle cap opener, jar handles snap-on portal book stand, shopping bag handles, piggy banks, a modular, articulated lamp, a shower head, or a car windshield ice scraper.

For handy tools and aids around the house, you’ll find these helpful when you need them: a fully assembled platform jack with adjustable height for objects you need to prop up (like a camera), a set of customizable sanding sticks of different widths and lengths, hand-screw clamps for low-intensity woodworking, customizable parametric u-hooks to hang loads as heavy as 40 kilos, plastic wrench for general use, door stoppers, and even a plastic hammer.

For your electronic devices, these items will keep your stuff in order, safe, and ready to use. Consider an earbud holder, stackable hexagonal drawers for cables, a wall outlet shelf for your phone or tablet, a passive sound amplifier with tiny speakers, a headphone stand, a modular mounting system for phones, tablets and lightweight cameras, or a micro SD card holder.

These are just a few of simple, everyday items you can 3D print and, what’s best is, you can customize them. They are only ideas but have seen print already. Many, many other ideas are out there, like toys, other kitchen gadgets, decor, and even fancy jewelry. Only your mind can limit the possibilities.

Printing Useful Ideas at 3D Composites

If you can imagine it, we might be able to print it. Choose from a wide variety of colors and materials that are capable of fitting different strength requirements and specifications. Contact 3D Composites Seattle if you’ve got an idea and let us help.