3D Printed Models: Saving Downstream Cost for Healthcare

New Study: 3D Printing Makes Medicine Cheaper

A new analysis published in Academic Radiology says that anatomic models created via 3D printing can be used during patients’ operative care to save health systems substantial downstream costs.

The study recognizes healthcare’s growing interest in 3D printing and in fact many hospitals have since adopted 3D printed models due to their potential “pay for itself” impact. What these ‘payments’ refer to are the surgeon’s superior confidence, the ability to perform complex procedures, and financial savings secondary to shorter, more efficient procedures.

In the study, the researchers reviewed operating room cost-per minute and quantified time saved when 3D printed models were used in orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery. A mean of $64 per operating room minute was used as reference standard. This is to create various financial scenarios. In conclusion. seven studies that used 3D printed models in surgical care showed a mean of 62 minutes saved time and 25 studies of 3D printed surgical guides revealed a mean of 23 minutes saved.

The study also pointed out that cost-savings can be substantial and financially feasible even at relatively low volumes of 3D printed anatomical models and surgical guides. This is good news for 3D printing labs that can keep their operational costs down with about 63 models or guides a year.

What will be the source or sources of the models/guides?

They can be drawn from CT, MRI and volumetric ultrasound images used in preoperative planning, intraoperative guidance, medical trainee education, and patient information and consent.

This study used literature-based financial analyses that were able to demonstrate the the representative of value and financial feasibility of 3D printing in preoperative planning and saving intraoperative time. Nonetheless, further studies are needed to validate the data because of the many mixed sources used for analysis.


rib cage and spine

3D Printing in Multi-Industries

The Potential Applications of 3D Printing

Big research , as well as investment, support continues to fuel the upswing of 3D printing technology around the world. That may be because many different industries realize the use of 3D printing within their own fields. There are some very interesting potential applications of the technology. Let’s look at them.

Medicine and Organogenesis

In medicine and science, 3D printing can create anatomical structures in cell cultures to mimic the growth of human organs. Imagine the many lives it can save. Organ transplants can be performed quickly, eliminating long waiting lists, and more importantly, removing the need of life-long anti-rejection treatments. Organogenesis is just one of 3D printing’s capabilities.

Still in the field of medicine, the next new wave of innovation is in personalized care. 3D printing is finding its way in precision medicine. It can create personalized organs, skin grafts or mechanical parts. It can also print specific nanoparticles as well as personalized food or pills of a patient’s unique physiology.

3D-Printed Food

3D printing might solve the problem of world hunger. 3D printers can make meals offering a sustainable solution to our growing population. In specific hunger-stricken areas, oil and powder cartridges will be used to create nutritional meals to enable people to thrive and survive. These cartridges have a shelf life of 30 years enabling zero food wastage.

Apparel and Fashion

Apparel can be customized by 3D printing. There is no longer any difficulty if one doesn’t fit in standard sizes; nothing is going to be too small or too big. A 3D printer can make it the exact size, fitting perfectly. Many companies and designers have incorporated 3D printing technology into their products and designs.


3D-printed homes may be the solution to a world without adequate or affordable housing. 3D printing has already produced houses done in less than one day for a cost of $10,000.

3D Printing in Space

3D printing has also invaded space. Space station teams and intergalactic explorers, without having to wait for replenishment, will utilize 3D printing to manufacture spacecraft components and products.


Reaching Out in Seattle

For your 3D printing needs, or if you want something customized, let 3D Composites know about your ideas.

The Integration of AI and 3D Printing: The New Volkswagen

AI Designed and 3D Manufactured

The bright orange components of the new Volkswagen retrofitted 1962 Microbus are hard to ignore. The components are very complex yet incredibly lightweight. VW, the German automotive manufacturer, has trained Artificial Intelligence to change how car components are made and is manufactured resulting parts are 3D printed. The modern, electric version was recently showcased at its Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC).

The orange parts are Generatively Designed shapes. They include the steering wheel, side mirror supports, and even the wheels. By training AI, VW engineers can use the Generative Design program to focus on their priorities and as the technology meets these criteria, a lightweight yet structurally sound design is produced. The parts look a lot less modern chic – with straight edges and hard lines – and a lot more like tree roots.

Auto Industry and 3D Printing

As any vehicle is composed of thousands of parts, 3D printing can only produce some of these parts, certainly not all of them. The VW team of researchers, designers, engineers, among others are working together to find out which of the parts can be effectively replaced with 3D printing. The use of Artificial Intelligence will aid them in flagging those potential parts.

VW has big plans for the future. The manufacturer will use technology to create a closed-loop recycling system that will use plastics from old components to create new ones. This is good news for the environment as it will save fuel resulting in less waste. What VW has proved is that using AI and 3D printing in car design results in more flexible designs, lightweight parts and, of course, financial gains.


Let Your Car Standout in Seattle

Do you have got a car part or parts that you’re thinking about 3D printing? Contact 3D Composites and let’s see what we can do for you.

The Golden Age of 3D Printing: Printing Fast and Big

Small Start-ups Thinking Big and Winning

3D printing is a technology that could someday incorporate into many other industries, even currently you various field are taking advantage of 3D printing technology.

There are a few companies and researchers are on the verge of major breakthroughs; such as a functioning heart the size of a rabbit that’s complete with blood vessels, created in Israel. A company named Carbon is working on a 3D printer capable of using multiple materials to print, when most products use only one type of material. Where shoes are concerned, they’re often made using rubber or another durable material for the sole, while the toe vamp, collar, and other parts are made out of synthetic cloth. Now a pair of shoes can be printed using different materials.

How do we justify 3D printing products of real value?

3D Hubs, the world’s largest network of manufacturing services, based in Amsterdam, is shaking the 3D printing industry up even further. 3D Hubs offers a good example of how companies evolve. Initially, the company was more of a community, allowing individual 3D printers and small companies to complete projects in exchange for cash. Now, 3D Hubs is focusing on high- end customers and is using high-end plastics, metals, and other materials to produce advanced components and products. It can produce components, parts, or even whole products in a matter of days. This should speed up innovation and reduce product development times.

Kepler Communications is a startup looking to put satellites into space where only a few commercial companies can. Development and delivery costs can be absurdly expensive. Only the super-rich can afford this, apart from governments. Kepler reached the final frontier, putting a nanosatellite into space within 12 months. They rapidly engineered prototypes. They jot ideas down quickly and validated many concepts. That’s because of 3DHubs. It takes weeks to assemble a satellite built completely by hand. 3DHubs was able to quickly crank out high-quality components that could then be studied and tested.

“3D printing services by Carbon, 3DHubs, and others could shake up entire industries and lead to much quicker and more affordable research and development. This should spur innovation and ensure that more ideas are brought to life.” – gritdaily.com


Shaking Up Industries in Seattle

If you have a great idea that can be realized via 3D printing, all you have to do is visit 3D Composites in Seattle. Big things start small.

Sneakers’ Soles: When 3D Printing Impacts Sports

New, Lighter, Faster Sneakers

Boston-based New Balance Athletics, best known as New Balance, is one of the world’s major sports footwear and apparel manufacturers. This midyear the brand had a major win when Toronto Raptors won the NBA title over the heavily-favored Golden State Warriors. The company has just embraced 3D printing and is making a big technology shift in the production process for their new sneaker designs.

Also Boston-based, Formlabs, a 3D printing company, went into an exclusive alliance with New Balance in 2017 to develop high performance materials and hardware for the manufacturing process for their athletic footwear. The new platform will use 3D printing technology that will bring performance cushioning to the next level. The new 990 Sport Shoe will use this technology and will debut soon. A second shoe printed with 3D printing, called the FuelCell Echo, will hit the market in September. Both shoes will feature TripleCell technology and will retail for $185 and $175 respectively.

The premium technology platform is called TripleCell, only from New Balance powered by Formlabs 3D printers and uses a completely new material, called Rebound Resin. The material is a new proprietary photopolymer resin, designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic. 3D printing technology has eliminated the dependence on molds and direct printing for both prototyping and production. It enabled the development and production cycles to shift from months to hours.

The new technology is now scaling exclusively within all New Balance factories in the U.S. increasing efficiency, facilitating on-demand and regionally-based manufacturing, reducing the lead time needed for a product, lowering shipping costs by being able to produce in a variety of locations to better suit their global demand. They can also customize on an order-by-order basis if desired.

TripleCell technology in the heel seamlessly delivers a 10% lighter cushioning experience than the classic style and maintains the Made in the USA designation. Then they designed the forefoot of the FuelCell Echo based on the growing focus of forefoot technology. The 990 Sport with TripleCell is Made in the USA at the New Balance Lawrence factory and the FuelCell Echo with TripleCell is assembled in the USA. Additive manufacturing’s future is really the ability to create high-performance parts for athletes, manufacture on demand and really be able to customize for the individual athletes’ biomechanics.


For Better Athletic Performance

Looking forward to better athletic performance gear where 3D printing is able to produce and manufacture sleeker, lighter and faster footwear.