Browsing articles from "June, 2013"
Jun 17, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printed Splint

PCL splint produced on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.
Source: MSNNow

When 6-month-old baby Kaiba suddenly couldn’t breath his parents knew something was horribly wrong. Doctors initially suspected that Kaiba had probably just breathed something in however it happened again a couple of days later and continued to happen every day. Further investigation revealed the obstruction was caused by a rare condition known as bronchial malacia, a blockage that affects respiration. Treatment would require the insertion of a splint to hold the air passage open and allow the tissue to grow and heal around it properly.

To date the FDA has not approved 3D Printed components for use in humans, but with time of the essence special dispensation was granted for this radial approach., making baby Kaiba the first human subject to test this procedure. To produce the splint Kaiba was first imaged, to allow for extremely accurate dimensions to be used in the creation of  a computer model. This CAD file was then set to print requiring approximately a day for the tiny custom splint to be fully formed.

The splint was produced in  3D print material Polycarprolactone (PCL), a material often used in medical applications including as a filler to close gaps left in the skill following brain surgery. As PCL degrades over time yet is strong enough to offer the necessary support there will be no need to operate to remove the stint once the bronchus has healed in the proper position. 15 months on from surgery Kaiba is doing well and can now breathe on his own.

No official policy on bio-printing body parts has been agreed by the FDA however as 3D printing technology becomes increasingly sophisticated it is likely that a decision will be required sooner rather than later.

Jun 10, 2013
Comments Off on World Leading 3D Printing artist Josh Harker to Discuss the Future of The Revolution at TCT Show

World Leading 3D Printing artist Josh Harker to Discuss the Future of The Revolution at TCT Show

As 3D printing technology advances, designers who can apply both heuristic thinking and creativity to their designs – and build them successfully – are succeeding in pushing the boundaries of the medium. Josh Harker is one of the world’s best-known artists working in the 3D printing field for this very reason, and he is one of the TCT Show’s most hotly-anticipated speakers when the event hits the Birmingham NEC for its 18th edition on the 25th and 26th of September 2013.

A native of the Mississippi River region, Harker had an alternative upbringing – foundations that may well have given him his talent for thinking outside of the box. His childhood was centred around post-‘

60s off-grid communal living, where he was raised with “complete artistic immersion” plus the occasional evening of being babysat by the Hell’s Angels. He eventually left that world to study at Kansas City Art Institute and St Ambrose University in Iowa, later pursuing anatomy and forensic arts, and working as a commercial sculptor and in product development.

Harker first got involved in 3D printing in the early ’90s after struggling to translate his art from two dimensions to three dimensions. However, the state of the technology at the time was not up to the standards it is now and  admits that it took him a further decade for 3D printers to build his designs to the standard he was looking to achieve. The artist, however has never looked back and said: “Simply having a medium that allows me to create my art as I envision it is excitement enough.”

Harker explains that one of the reasons why he is excited about speaking at the TCT Show this September is because he relishes the chance to communicate with those who, like himself, are passionate about 3D printing and the myriad ways the technology can be used. “Events like the TCT Show bring together a wonderful group of people with a specific interest in what’s going on, so I’m excited about being part of that,” he stated. He added that it is events such as these that bring 3D printing artists together. This, he noted, is a growing community as new developments draw in more and more practitioners.

The theme of Harkers presentation will be The Empowered and the Liberated in the Future of the Revolution. “I will be using my experiences to illustrate the changing paradigm of how artists and designers create and connect with an audience. Also, how a new world of options is opening up for the general consumer. We are no longer bound by economy of scale, manufacturing geometry limitations, and elite marketing and distribution channels. Consumers are afforded more product possibilities as well as options regarding who and where their products come from.”

Harker believes that the accepted model of bringing a product to market and then selling it gives the consumer fewer choices, all of which come with a hefty price tag. But now, the playing field is leveling and 3D printing is helping to benefit both makers and consumers.

Harker knows about running an enterprise and how 3D printing can transform the economics of a business. He founded a profitable boutique design and development studio in 1998, where he served as CEO for a decade before selling his partnership. “[The] point is that it was a functional and successful business within the current industry. It was – and still is – a small company of about 12 people, [with] approximately $70,000 (£45,083) per month overhead regardless of workload. I now run at nearly $0 overhead and make the same income,” he stated.

Harker will be going into his first-hand experiences of how this burgeoning set of resources, networks and technologies enable these new business models in more detail at the TCT Show, but what is next for the professional’s artistic ventures?

Fans of his Tangled series will be pleased to hear that he is adding new pieces to this body of work, including a piece that is being adapted for fashion, which will be unveiled in Paris in November. Moreover, he has plans for public art works with an architectural bent emerging from the well-known oeuvre. In the meantime, he is expanding some of his current series as well as working on other themes he believes will be well suited to 3D printing. Outside of the art world, Harker is also involved in developing 3D printing technology.

To register for FREE entrance to the TCT Show + Personalize and to the seminar sessions including Josh Harker please visit the

TCT Show + Personalize will take place 25-26 September 2013, Hall 3/3a, NEC, Birmingham, UK

For further information on the programme please contact Duncan Wood, Rapid News Communications Group.

Tel: +44 (0) 1244 680222, Email: