Browsing articles in "3D Printing"
Feb 10, 2014
Comments Off on UK Surgeon performs 1st of a kind 3d printed pelvis implant

UK Surgeon performs 1st of a kind 3d printed pelvis implant

Surgeon Craig Gerrand with model of pelvis

Surgeon Craig Gerrand with model of pelvis

Using 3D printing technology Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Craig Gerrand helped patient who lost half of his pelvis to bone cancer walk again.

The 60 year old male patient was diagnosed with a rare bone tumor known as chondrosarcoma.  This form of cancer, which affected virtually the entire right hand side of the patients pelvis, does not respond to drugs or radiotherapy leaving the only option to surgically remove the affected area. With so much bone affected there would be nothing left to which a standard hand made implant could be attached leading to Craig Gerrand offering his patient an extraordinary reconstructive innovation; to 3D print an custom made implant in titanium which would be designed to form a perfect fit into the space left by the surgery. The implant then covered in a mineral into which the remaining bone cells could grow. Speaking on the surgery Gerrand stated that the patient was aware of the risks including the implant not fitting properly or fracturing  before opting in to the surgery.

Meticulous planning was required to provide the greatest chance of success. CT and MRI scans of the pelvis were fused to calculate precise dimensions for the space to remain and the quantity of bone to be removed. Using this data it was possible to produce a bespoke 3D printed model of the half pelvis, which provided an exact dimensional match to the bone lost by the patient. Following the creation of the implant surgery proceeded with Gerrand utilising surgical navigation technology to ensure the bone was cut exactly where planned. Once the bone was removed the titanium implant was fitted, followed by a standard hip replacement which fitted seamlessly into the titanium socket.

Just over three years on the patient is able to walk with the aid of a stick and is still very happy with his 3D printed implant.

Jan 7, 2014
Comments Off on Tornado fighter jets fly with 3D printed parts.

Tornado fighter jets fly with 3D printed parts.

Earlier this week defence company, BAE Systems announced the successful test flight of a RAF Tornado fighter jet, which featured 3D Printed components.

The metal components which included protective covers for cockpit radios and guards for power take-off shafts are to form production components for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 Aircraft at the RAF Marham base in Norfolk. With some components costing less than £100 it is hoped that 3D Printing technology could cut the RAF maintenance and service bill by over £1.2 million in the next four years.

Speaking on the implications of 3D Printing technology on manufacturing, head of airframe integration at BAE Systems, Mike Murray stated;

“You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers. And if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support”

With both US space agency NASA and the defence sector looking at the long term manufacturing capabilities of 3D Printing technology we can expect to see significant developments in 3D Printing as a tool for manufacturing in the coming years.

Dec 9, 2013
Comments Off on For the one who a everything …3D Print yourself

For the one who a everything …3D Print yourself

Everyone has a least one on their Christmas list, that hard-to-buy for person who already has everything. This year why not surprise them with something truly unique, a 3D printed replica figurine of yourself.

How do you get your hands on one, simply visit the  iMakr pop-up shop in London Selfridges where a mechatronic engineer will guide you through the 3D scanning and printing process. Customers are requested to step inside the 3D-Scanning booth where 40 or so cameras positioned at various angles and levels create 3D Data for print which will then be recreated on an iMakr printer. Customers are advised of certain print limitations for example issues recreating splayed fingers and curly hair.

Allowing loved ones to hold a miniature version of yourself in there hands does not however come cheap with a mini-me figurine likely to set you back £159.


Alternatively with iMakr printers starting at £699 you could treat yourself to your very own 3D Printer a create a mini-me army.

Sep 13, 2013
Comments Off on Join in the Mysterabbit Urban Art Project at this years TCT Show + Personalize

Join in the Mysterabbit Urban Art Project at this years TCT Show + Personalize

A modern twist on the age old cliche “Stop and smell the roses” urban art project Mysterabbit is taking the world by storm. From South Korea to the United States thousands of tiny meditating bunny statues  are appearing in random spots in across the world.

The project aims at encouraging hurried city residents to slow down and enjoy life’s small pleasures. Speaking on the project Ji Lee and his team of public art enthusiasts stated “we hope [Mysterabbits] will stop people from their daily routine for a brief moment, make them wonder about their mysterious, newly found gift”.  To find out if Mysterabbit sculptures have already reached your town check out the map on the Mysterabbit website.

The public is actively encouraged to get involved in the project with a blueprint for the Mysterabbit sculptures available online to print on your own 3D printer. Free sculptures can also be ordered directly through the Mysterabbit website however expect a wait due to growing demand for these sculptures. Belfast based Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing bureau LPE have decided to show support for this project by producing 200 free Mysterabbit sculptures which they will be giving away at the TCT Show + Personalize later this month (25th & 26th September), simply visit their stand F42 at the NEC Birmingham  for your free model.


Mysterabbit visit Belfast

Mysterabbit visits Belfast

Aug 14, 2013
Comments Off on Prototyping for the packaging industry.

Prototyping for the packaging industry.

Bottle produced in Watershed and SL7820 Stereolithography resins.

This week 124 years ago Dan Rylands of Hope Glass Works, Yorks, patented the worlds first screw bottle top. Despite changes in the materials, and overall aesthetics the screw bottle cap remains a prominent feature of the packaging industry and to mark this anniversary we take a look at the role of Rapid Prototyping can play in the packaging industry.

Regardless of industry, packaging can prove more important than the product itself when it comes to sales, it is the first thing a customer sees and can be the driving force between someone choosing your brand over one of your competitors. Getting the design of packaging right (in terms of both functionality and aesthetics) within tight project lead times and on budget can prove challenging and it is here that Rapid Prototyping proves a useful tool for the packaging industry.

Prototype models can be produced in a range of near production grade plastics suitable for functionality testing. Stereolithography can be used to produce high detailed, accurate models ideal for testing of blister pack fit, shelf footprint and overall functionality. In addition to offering a transparent model, water safe Watershed SLA resin also allows for design verification of liquid packaging.

Snap fits and living hinges can also be faithfully recreated in Nylon, from 3D CAD data using the Selective Laser Sintering process. Low volume runs of living hinges can also be achieved through Vacuum Casting using PX205 resin.

For firms wishing to move ahead with the creation of marketing materials prior to receipt of final packaging prototypes can be hand finished to simulate final production units for photography purposes.

By Roisin McLaughlin

May 24, 2013
Comments Off on Pizza hot off a 3D Printer!

Pizza hot off a 3D Printer!

3D Food Printer

Schematic of SMRC’s Food Printer

It appears that 3D printed food is even closer to science fact than fiction as NASA award a grant of US$125,000 to American manufacturer SMRC (Systems and Materials Research Consultancy), a Texas based company which plans to develop a 3D food printer suitable for use in long-duration manned space flights.

NASA’s senior public affairs officer, David Steitz said that the projects ability to address issues of shelf life, taste and nutrition were key drivers in the decision to fund SMRC’s project.

“NASA is funding this feasibility study on 3D printing of foods to determine the capability of this technology to enable nutrient stability and provide a variety of foods from shelf-stable ingredients, while minimizing crew time and waste”.

The 3D food printing device would mix stored micro and macro-nutrients into a paste (based on a digital recipe) to be “printed” onto a heated plate for cooking. The result a quick, hot, nutritious and flavorful meal for astronauts. Taking for example a pizza a 3D printing component will print a layer of dough (which will provide structure and texture) followed by the ink jet printing a layer of tomato-flavored paste and a layer of pizza topping-flavored protein( which will provide flavor and smell).

The project is currently in its infancy, with funding awarded for the initial 6 months feasibility study. If successful the SMRC will then have to move on to a 24 month development period after which eligibility for commercial manufacture will be reassessed.

Deep Space Pizza

Images Sourced from :

May 7, 2013
Comments Off on Enter the Cyborgs!

Enter the Cyborgs!

A team of researchers at Princeton University have reportedly create a fully functioning cyborg ear, that can “hear” radio frequencies beyond the range of normal human capability.

The bionic ear was created by merging human tissue with electronics using 3D printing tools including an off-the-shelf 3D printer. The research which Princeton’s research team claims is the first attempt of its kind, to create a fully functioning organ, could someday be used to restore or enhance human hearing.

Using 3D printing technology it was possible to merge small antenna (silver nano-particles  with cartilage  (a hydro-gel and calf cell matrix which develops into cartilage).

Much like a hearing aid electrical signals produced by the ear would be connected to a persons nerve endings, via two wires leading from the base of the ear which are wound around the part that senses sound and connects to electrodes.

Princeton researchers believe that the design and implementation of cybernetics has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body. Ability to combine electronics with human tissue further allows for the creation of organs beyond the traditional capabilities of human biology.


Apr 25, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printing the moon!

3D Printing the moon!

London based SinterHab envision a 3D printed Moon base baked from lunar dust.



Collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory a team of UK architects have developed plans for a modular architectural structure which would be build using microwaves, solar energy and lunar dust at the lunar south pole.

Based on a system of rigid models that can be pieced together to form a structure, and inspired by the formation of bubbles found in nature the team boast that their design and development concept could “significantly decrease mass, costs and environmental impact” as there would be no need to send glue or other building agents to the moon. Lunar dust would be bonded using microwaves and solar energy to heat the particles to the right temperature for natural bonding. Once sintered the lunar dust would produce a ceramic-like material.

The nano-sized iron particles in lunar dust can be heated up to 1500°C and melt it even in a domestic microwave oven. When heated and the temperature is maintained below the melting point, particles can be bond together to create the lunar habitat building blocks. The use of lunar dust helps mitigate hazards of contamination from the highly abrasive lunar dust.

The internal membrane system of SinterHab offers up to four times the volume of classic rigid modules at the same weight shipped from earth. Modules large enough to accommodate a green garden to recycle air and water for the lunar outpost could also be produced, offering higher levels of habitability and enhancing the comfort and psychological well-being of inhabitants.

This construction method is based on the Microwave Sinterator Free-form Additive Construction System (MS-FACS) with Scientists at NASA proposing the use of a six legged multi-purpose robot called ATHLETE , which would hold a microwave printer head, for the construction of walls and dome. Lunar dust would be excavated and manipulated by Chariot rover in bulldozer configuration and then fed to ATHLETE. This lunar dust would then be used to cover inflated membranes of Kevlar, Mylar and other materials.


Apr 9, 2013
Comments Off on Cancer survivor gets new lease of life thanks to 3D Printing

Cancer survivor gets new lease of life thanks to 3D Printing

Four years after undergoing life saving surgery which required almost all of the left side of his face to be removed, Eric Moger (60) has been fitted with a new prosthetic face thanks in part to 3D printing technology.

The mouth implant created by Mr Dawood

During a routine operation to remove nasal polyps, Mr Moger was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a condition which causes small growths or polyps to turn into tumors. At the time of diagnosis the cancer was already very advanced requiring surgeons at the University College London Hospital to remove almost half of his face (his left eye, cheekbone and most of his jaw) in order to save his life.  The surgery proved successful with Mr Moger now completely cured of the cancer.

As a result of the operation Mr Moger was left unable to eat and drink, he had to be fed directly into his stomach through a tube. The gaping hole also meant he would have to hold his mouth to speak. In the weeks and months following the surgery Mr Moger became increasingly depressed and in desperation he approached Dr Christian Jesson on Channel 4’s Embarassing Bodies.

3D Printing creates silicon mask, prosthesis and implant for cancer survivor

Mr Moger wearing silicon mask, prosthesis and implant

The show referred him to dental surgeon Andrew Dawood, who used digital scanning technology to create a 3D scan of Mr Moger’s face. A model was then created to mirror the undamaged side of his face. A nylon mould of his face was then grown layer by layer using 3D printing technology. This mould was then used to create a silicon prosthesis.

The prosthesis (held in place by screws in his eyebrow and other cheek bone) combined with a mouth implant creates a seal which allows Mr Moger to once again eat and drink. The silicon mask is secured with magnets allowing easy removal at night with a darker tone silicon mask created for use in summer.

Thanks to 3D printing Mr Moger has received a significant confidence boost stating “It’s transformed by life… It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and see a whole face again. I am amazed at what they have done – it just looks so like me”

See Mr Moger on Embarrassing Bodies below.

Mar 22, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printing to make every step more comfortable

3D Printing to make every step more comfortable

Selective Laser Sintering making every step more comfortable

Selective Laser Sintering making every step more comfortable for New Balance Team athletes

Comprising of so many muscles, bones, joint and ligaments  the foot is as individual as a finger print. Different shapes, sizes and patterns of movement ensure no standard off-the -shelf shoe can be designed to correctly fit all requirements.  For athletes custom fit training shoes can make the difference in avoiding long term injury due to stress and strain on ligaments and muscles and enhance the comfort and efficiency of every step.

Imagine then going into your local sports shop and purchasing training shows customized for your feet. The team at New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. may be bringing that day closer than you think. Using 3D-Printing technology the Brighton-based company have supplied their sponsored athletes with customised running shoes.

In January Jack Bolas ( a member of the Team New Balance) became  the first athlete to compete in the customised shoes. Bolas went on to finish fourth out of the ten competing runners.

Measuring movement

Bolas was taken to the Brandeis University in Waltham, where he was fitted shoes wired with a hundred sensors each tracking and measuring pressure as he ran the campus track. Motion capture cameras were also placed around the track.

The assembled data was then analysed by New Balance technicians using advanced algorithms and software to create a digital model of the customised spike plates for Bolas’ shoes. Rapid Prototyping software then cut the 3D data into thin slices for print.  Speaking on the decision to use Rapid Prototyping technology Katherine Petrecca, manager of studio innovation at New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc stated

“We could make  the custom spikes using a traditional injection mold system, but we wanted the athletes to be able to test the shoes very quickly. Injection molding could take months. With our system, it takes on to three hours, depending on the complexity, and you can make multiple parts at the same time”

In addition to Bolas 2012 Olympians Barbara Parker (Britain) and Kim Conley (US) along with 1500 meter World Champion gold medalist Jenny Barringer Simpson are also involved in helping New Balance develop their highly customizable footwear. The goal is to extend the service to non-professional athletes competing in spikes with the eventual goal to revolutionize future footwear manufacturing.