Old world labs 3d printer

Old World Labs Unveils New Range Of Professional-Grade 3D Printers

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Old World Labs (OWL) today announced the launch of two new best-in-class 3D printers in its MC Series, delivering unmatched precision and accuracy and offering the best resolution in the industry. The MC-1 and MC-2 were unveiled at the 2015 International CES® in Las Vegas and are available via a service plan subscription, which allows customers to upgrade their hardware as the technology is refined, ensuring small-volume, high-value manufactured parts are printed at optimum quality. Customers interested in learning how they can procure an OWL 3D printer or finding out more about the MC-1 and MC-2 should visit www.oldworldlabs.com.

Tiny Solutions to Huge, Real-World Problems
OWL customers are working on the future of everything medicine, science, engineering, robotics, art and need to be able to create things that are tomorrow-ready, today. OWL printers have 250x the resolution of other 3D printers, making them most precise option for laboratories and research facilities. Customers depend on OWL's printers to have the most accurate outputs to solve problems that require the most utterly accurate production possible. Customers include NASA, Stanford University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University. OWL is also working with the United States Department of Defense, and collaborating with institutions on creating photonics based tools for the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation.

"The benefits of 3D printing to science, medical research and academic discovery are evolving, and the people who are making the utmost progress and greatest discoveries need the most precise and accurate printers available. The MC Series fit this description no other 3D printers can match them for resolution, precision and functionality," said Nick Liverman, CEO and Founder, Old World Labs. "Our printers are not like anything else on the market. They are more accurate and capable of handling printing the minute details that makes the difference to people trying to change the world."

OWL'S Newest Lineup
The MC-1 is a high-precision nano-scale photo fabrication device, built by hand in the U.S.A. It offers cutting-edge resolution designed for use in leading medical, engineering, scientific, and defense laboratories. This precision instrument is designed to be run constantly, maximizing productivity without compromising quality. The MC-1 comes with a selection of services, support, training and consultation packages.

The MC-2 features an advanced control board, multiple upgraded lasers capable of processing new multiple materials, and improved software. It is the first scheduled upgrade printer for OWL's subscription customers and will become available mid-2015.

As new technology is developed and 3D printers evolve, older models will quickly become obsolete. Instead of selling its 3D printers outright, OWL is offering customers a contracted service plan that gives immediate access to new hardware and software by invoking the option to upgrade their model to reflect the technological progressions in this changing market.

Visitors to International CES 2015 can visit OWL at the Sands Expo Centre, booth #72620.

About Old World Labs

Founded in Hampton Roads in 2013 Old World Labs (OWL) revolutionizes how engineers, medical professionals, educators, hobbyists and designers create and produce. OWL is a group of passionate, gifted individuals from an array of multidisciplinary backgrounds. Our mission is to advance manufacturing by creating advanced processes and equipment to make your dreams a reality. Our team develops and manufactures innovative products that support automated chemical and industrial platforms. We design technology that has much higher feature resolution than competitors, which enables advanced solutions. OWL is dedicated to deliver the best and most innovative technology with an unmatched return on investment. Our team remains committed to making sophisticated, high-quality technology.

We only strive for excellence when it comes to developing and manufacturing technology; to turn your dreams into a reality. If you can dream it, OWL can build it.

Follow OWL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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SOURCE Old World Labs

Revolutionary 3D Printer Takes a Bite Out of Dental Costs

Inspiration for Better Living

April 3, 2017

3 min read

A Hampton Roads-based company is the latest to jump on the 3-D printer bandwagon by creating a high-tech device to be used in dental offices to speed up the time it takes to make custom crowns and bridges.

Old World Labs has been making 3-D printers for use in academic research and development labs for the past five years, according to its founder and CEO, Nick Liverman.

The company’s latest printer, expected to hit the mass market later this year, is called DentaLITH. Liverman hopes the printer will revolutionize the way dental offices and labs manufacture ceramic crowns and bridges, as well as acrylic-based surgical guides, corrective alignments and night guards.

The art of 3-D printing is used in all kinds of industries, from architecture to aeronautics to robotics. It is being used with increasing frequency in the medical field to create everything from prosthetics to replicates of bones. More than $4 billion in prosthetic, orthodontic and other dental parts are made each year. In fact, a recent report by SmarTech Publishing found that the dental industry continues to be one of the strongest targets for development of new 3-D printers, materials and applications.

In plain terms, 3-D printing is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession. Old World Labs focuses on additive manufacturing, which is computer-driven, using information from 3-D digital scans to create 3-D objects layer by layer.

For use in a dental office, think of it this way: If you need a mouth guard, you no longer have to get a gooey impression made and then wait weeks for the device to be made. Rather, a dentist can take a digital scan of your teeth and send the file right to a 3-D printer.

“It’s a huge thing in the dental field that’s come to be in the past couple of years,” says Liverman.

The DentaLITH printer uses resin composite and ceramics for its devices. Because the prints do have to harden in a furnace, there’s about a one-day turnaround. But it’s vastly faster than the old way.

Liverman was a self-described hobby robot-maker who taught himself how to make a 3-D printer after beginning with a kit and tweaking it to his liking. He started his business out of a Virginia Beach storage unit in 2012. As the company grew, he partnered with Industrial Automation Specialists Corp. , which helps make the equipment he designs. They operate out of a facility at the Langley Research and Development Park in Hampton.

Liverman’s company was working on advanced materials for semiconductors for space exploration when a customer approached him and asked him to adapt the technology for dental work. So they did. He has collaborated with Virginia Beach dentist Eric Hosek on various aspects of the development.

Liverman intends to introduce DentaLITH at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany, this spring, followed by commercial production overseas. He hopes to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance for ceramic crowns and bridges later this year so he can then market the printer in America. He envisions 3-D printers such as DentaLITH eventually bringing down the costs of expensive dental devices. Not only will the printer consolidate the equipment in a dental lab, it will shorten the time it takes to make the devices.

“It’s definitely going to reduce the cost of health care, once the market is saturated with these,” Liverman said. “It’s something that can have a lot of impact around the world.”

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About the author

Kim O'Brien Root

Kim O'Brien Root was a newspaper reporter — writing for papers in Virginia and Connecticut — for 15 years before she took a break to be a stay-at-home mom. When the lure of writing became too strong, she began freelancing and then took on the role of the Health Journal’s editor in Dec. 2017. She juggles work with volunteering for the PTA
and the Girl Scouts. She lives in Hampton, Virginia, with her husband, a fellow journalist, their two children and a dog.

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All about 3D printing. additive manufacturing. Basic concepts.

  • 1 Technology
  • 2 Terminology
  • 3 Fundamentals
  • 4 Printing Technologies
  • 5 3D printers
  • 6 Application
  • 7 Domestic and hobby use
  • 8 Clothing
  • 9 3D bioprinting
  • 10 3D printing of implants and medical devices
  • 11 3D printing services
  • 12 Research into new applications
  • 13 Intellectual Property
  • 14 Influence of 3D printing
  • 15 Space research
  • 16 Social change
  • 17 Firearms


Charles Hull - the father of modern 3D printing
3D printing is based on the concept of building an object in successive layers that display the contours of the model. In fact, 3D printing is the complete opposite of traditional mechanical production and processing methods such as milling or cutting, where the appearance of the product is formed by removing excess material (so-called "subtractive manufacturing").
3D printers are computer-controlled machines that build parts in an additive way. Although 3D printing technology appeared in the 80s of the last century, 3D printers were widely used commercially only in the early 2010s. The first viable 3D printer was created by Charles Hull, one of the founders of 3D Systems Corporation. At the beginning of the 21st century, there was a significant increase in sales, which led to a sharp drop in the cost of devices. According to the consulting firm Wohlers Associates, the global market for 3D printers and related services reached $2.2 billion in 2012, growing by 29%.% compared to 2011.
3D printing technologies are used for prototyping and distributed manufacturing in architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military-industrial, engineering and medical industries, bioengineering (to create artificial fabrics), fashion and footwear, jewelry, in education, geographic information systems, food industry and many other areas. According to research, open source home 3D printers will allow you to win back the capital costs of your own purchase through the economy of household production of items.


Additive manufacturing involves the construction of objects by adding the necessary material, and not by removing excess, as is the case with subtractive methods
The term "additive manufacturing" refers to the technology of creating objects by applying successive layers material. Models made using the additive method can be used at any stage of production - both for the production of prototypes (so-called rapid prototyping) and as finished products themselves (so-called rapid production).
In manufacturing, especially machining, the term "subtractive" implies more traditional methods and is a retronym coined in recent years to distinguish between traditional methods and new additive methods. Although traditional manufacturing has used essentially "additive" methods for centuries (such as riveting, welding, and screwing), they lack a 3D information technology component. Machining, on the other hand, (the production of parts of an exact shape), as a rule, is based on subtractive methods - filing, milling, drilling and grinding.
The term "stereolithography" was defined by Charles Hull in a 1984 patent as "a system for generating three-dimensional objects by layering".


3D printed models

3D models are created by hand-held computer graphic design or 3D scanning. Hand modeling, or the preparation of geometric data for the creation of 3D computer graphics, is somewhat like sculpture. 3D scanning is the automatic collection and analysis of data from a real object, namely shape, color and other characteristics, with subsequent conversion into a digital three-dimensional model.
Both manual and automatic creation of 3D printed models can be difficult for the average user. In this regard, 3D printed marketplaces have become widespread in recent years. Some of the more popular examples include Shapeways, Thingiverse, and Threeding.
3D printing

The following digital models are used as drawings for 3D printed objects , powder, paper or sheet material, building a 3D model from a series of cross sections. These layers, corresponding to virtual cross-sections in the CAD model, are connected or fused together to create an object of a given shape. The main advantage of this method is the ability to create geometric shapes of almost unlimited complexity.
"Resolution" of the printer means the thickness of the applied layers (Z-axis) and the accuracy of positioning the print head in the horizontal plane (along the X and Y axes). Resolution is measured in DPI (dots per inch) or micrometers (the obsolete term is "micron"). Typical layer thicknesses are 100µm (250 DPI), although some devices like the Objet Connex and 3D Systems ProJet are capable of printing layers as thin as 16µm (1600 DPI). The resolution on the X and Y axes is similar to that of conventional 2D laser printers. A typical particle size is about 50-100µm (510 to 250 DPI) in diameter.

One of the methods for obtaining a digital model is 3D scanning. Pictured here is a MakerBot Digitizer
3D Scanner Building a model using modern technology takes hours to days, depending on the method used and the size and complexity of the model. Industrial additive systems can typically reduce the time to a few hours, but it all depends on the type of plant, as well as the size and number of models produced at the same time.
Traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding can be less expensive when producing large batches of polymer products, but additive manufacturing has advantages in small batch production, allowing for higher production rates and design flexibility, along with increased cost per unit produced. In addition, desktop 3D printers allow designers and developers to create concept models and prototypes without leaving the office.

FDM Type 3D Printers
Although the resolution of the printers is adequate for most projects, printing slightly oversized objects and then subtractively machining them with high-precision tools allows you to create models of increased accuracy.
The LUMEX Avance-25 is an example of devices with a similar combined manufacturing and processing method. Some additive manufacturing methods allow for the use of multiple materials, as well as different colors, within a single production run. Many of the 3D printers use "supports" or "supports" during printing. Supports are needed to build model fragments that are not in contact with the underlying layers or the working platform. The supports themselves are not part of the given model, and upon completion of printing, they either break off (in the case of using the same material as for printing the model itself), or dissolve (usually in water or acetone - depending on the material used to create the supports). ).

Printing technologies

Since the late 1970s, several 3D printing methods have come into being. The first printers were large, expensive and very limited.

Complete skull with supports not yet removed

A wide variety of additive manufacturing methods are now available. The main differences are in the layering method and consumables used. Some methods rely on melting or softening materials to create layers: these include selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), fusing deposition printing (FDM or FFF). Another trend has been the production of solid models by polymerization of liquid materials, known as stereolithography (SLA).
In the case of lamination of sheet materials (LOM), thin layers of material are cut to the required contour, and then joined into a single whole. Paper, polymers and metals can be used as LOM materials. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why some companies offer a choice of consumables for building a model - polymer or powder. LOM printers often use regular office paper to build durable prototypes. The key points when choosing the right device are the speed of printing, the price of a 3D printer, the cost of printed prototypes, as well as the cost and range of compatible consumables.

Printers that produce full-fledged metal models are quite expensive, but it is possible to use less expensive devices for the production of molds and subsequent casting of metal parts.
The main methods of additive manufacturing are presented in the table:

Method Technology Materials used
Extrusion Fused deposition modeling (FDM or FFF) Thermoplastics (such as polylactide (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), etc. )
Wire Manufacture of arbitrary shapes by electron beam fusing (EBFȝ) Virtually all metal alloys
Powder Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Virtually all metal alloys
Electron Beam Melting (EBM) Titanium alloys
Selective laser melting (SLM) Titanium alloys, cobalt-chromium alloys, stainless steel, aluminum
Selective heat sintering (SHS) Powder thermoplastics
Selective laser sintering (SLS) Thermoplastics, metal powders, ceramic powders
Inkjet 3D Inkjet Printing (3DP) Gypsum, plastics, metal powders, sand mixtures
Lamination Lamination Object Manufacturing (LOM) Paper, metal foil, plastic film
Polymerization Stereolithography (SLA) Photopolymers
Digital LED Projection (DLP) Photopolymers

Extrusion Printing

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM/FFF) was developed by S. Scott Trump in the late 1980s and commercialized in the 1990s by Stratasys, a company of which Trump is credited as one of the founders. Due to the expiration of the patent, there is a large community of open source 3D printer developers as well as commercial organizations using the technology. As a consequence, the cost of devices has decreased by two orders of magnitude since the invention of the technology.
3D printers range from simple do-it-yourself printers to plastic...
Fusion printing process involves the creation of layers by extrusion of a fast-curing material in the form of microdrops or thin jets. Typically, consumable material (such as thermoplastic) comes in the form of spools from which the material is fed into a printhead called an "extruder". The extruder heats the material to its melting temperature, followed by extrusion of the molten mass through a nozzle. The extruder itself is driven by stepper motors or servomotors to position the printhead in three planes. The movement of the extruder is controlled by a manufacturing software (CAM) linked to a microcontroller.
A variety of polymers are used as consumables, including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), polylactide (PLA), high pressure polyethylene (HDPE), polycarbonate-ABS blends, polyphenylene sulfone (PPSU), etc. Typically, polymer supplied in the form of a filler made of pure plastic. There are several projects in the 3D printing enthusiast community that aim to recycle used plastic into materials for 3D printing. The projects are based on the production of consumables using shredders and melters.

FDM/FFF technology has certain limitations on the complexity of the generated geometric shapes. For example, the creation of suspended structures (such as stalactites) is impossible by itself, due to the lack of necessary support. This limitation is compensated by the creation of temporary support structures that are removed after printing is completed.
Powder print

Selective sintering of powder materials is one of the additive manufacturing methods. Model layers are drawn (sintered) in a thin layer of powdered material, after which the work platform is lowered and a new layer of powder is applied. The process is repeated until a complete model is obtained. The unused material remains in the working chamber and serves to support the overhanging layers without requiring the creation of special supports.

The most common methods are based on laser sintering: selective laser sintering (SLS) for working with metals and polymers (e.g. polyamide (PA), glass fiber reinforced polyamide (PA-GF), glass fiber (GF), polyetheretherketone) (PEEK), polystyrene (PS), alumide, carbon fiber reinforced polyamide (Carbonmide), elastomers) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
... to expensive industrial plants working with metals
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was developed and patented by Carl Deckard and Joseph Beeman of the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1080s under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A similar method was patented by R. F. Householder in 1979, but has not been commercialized.

Selective laser melting (SLM) is characterized by the fact that it does not sinter, but actually melts the powder at the points of contact with a powerful laser beam, allowing you to create high-density materials that are similar in terms of mechanical characteristics to products made by traditional methods.

Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is a similar method for the additive manufacturing of metal parts (eg titanium alloys) but using electron beams instead of lasers. EBM is based on melting metal powders layer by layer in a vacuum chamber. In contrast to sintering at temperatures below melting thresholds, models made by electron beam melting are characterized by solidity with a corresponding high strength.

Finally, there is the 3D inkjet printing method. In this case, a binder is applied to thin layers of powder (gypsum or plastic) in accordance with the contours of successive layers of the digital model. The process is repeated until the finished model is obtained. The technology provides a wide range of applications, including the creation of color models, suspended structures, the use of elastomers. The design of models can be strengthened by subsequent impregnation with wax or polymers.


FDM 3D printers are the most popular among hobbyists and enthusiasts
Some printers use paper as a material for building models, thereby reducing the cost of printing. Such devices experienced the peak of popularity in the 1990s. The technology consists in cutting out the layers of the model from paper using a carbon dioxide laser with simultaneous lamination of the contours to form the finished product.

In 2005, Mcor Technologies Ltd developed a variant of the technology that uses plain office paper, a tungsten carbide blade instead of a laser, and selective adhesive application.

There are also device variants that laminate thin metal and plastic sheets.


3D printing allows you to create functional monolithic parts of complex geometric shapes, like this jet nozzle
Stereolithography technology was patented by Charles Hull in 1986. Photopolymerization is primarily used in stereolithography (SLA) to create solid objects from liquid materials. This method differs significantly from previous attempts, from the sculptural portraits of François Willem (1830-1905) to photopolymerization by the Matsubara method (1974).

The Digital Projection Method (DLP) uses liquid photopolymer resins that are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light emitted from digital projectors in a coated working chamber. After the material has hardened, the working platform is immersed to a depth equal to the thickness of one layer, and the liquid polymer is irradiated again. The procedure is repeated until the completion of the model building. An example of a rapid prototyping system using digital LED projectors is the EnvisionTEC Perfactory.

Inkjet printers (eg Objet PolyJet) spray thin layers (16-30µm) of photopolymer onto the build platform until a complete model is obtained. Each layer is irradiated with an ultraviolet beam until hardened. The result is a model ready for immediate use. The gel-like support material used to support the components of geometrically complex models is removed after the model has been handcrafted and washed. The technology allows the use of elastomers.

Ultra-precise detailing of models can be achieved using multiphoton polymerization. This method is reduced to drawing the contours of a three-dimensional object with a focused laser beam. Due to non-linear photoexcitation, the material solidifies only at the focusing points of the laser beam. This method makes it easy to achieve resolutions above 100 µm, as well as build complex structures with moving and interacting parts.

Another popular method is curing with LED projectors or "projection stereolithography".

Projection stereolithography

This method involves dividing a 3D digital model into horizontal layers, converting each layer into a 2D projection similar to photomasks. The 2D images are projected onto successive layers of photopolymer resin that harden according to the projected contours.

In some systems, the projectors are located at the bottom, helping to level the surface of the photopolymer material when the model moves vertically (in this case, the build platform with the applied layers moves up, rather than sinking into the material) and reduces the production cycle to minutes instead of hours.

The technology allows you to create models with layers of several materials with different curing rates.

Some commercial models, such as the Objet Connex, apply resin using small nozzles.

3D printers

Industrial plants

Industrial adoption of additive manufacturing is proceeding at a rapid pace. For example, US-Israeli joint venture Stratasys supplies $2,000 to $500,000 additive manufacturing machines, while General Electric uses high-end machines to produce gas turbine parts.
Home appliances

LOM takes papier-mâché to the next level The development of 3D printers for home use is being pursued by a growing number of companies and enthusiasts. Most of the work is done by amateurs for their own and public needs, with help from the academic community and hackers.

The oldest and longest running project in the desktop 3D printer category is RepRap. The RepRap project aims to create free and open source (FOSH) 3D printers provided under the GNU General Public License. RepRap devices are capable of printing custom-designed plastic components that can be used to build clones of the original device. Individual RepRap devices have been successfully applied to the production of printed circuit boards and metal parts.

Due to the open access to drawings of RepRap printers, many of the projects adopt the technical solutions of analogues, thus creating a semblance of an ecosystem consisting mostly of freely modifiable devices. The wide availability of open source designs only encourages variations. On the other hand, there is a significant variation in the level of quality and complexity of both the designs themselves and the devices manufactured on their basis. The rapid development of open source 3D printers is leading to a rise in popularity and the emergence of public and commercial portals (such as Thingiverse or Cubify) offering a variety of printable 3D designs. In addition, the development of technology contributes to the sustainable development of local economies through the possibility of using locally available materials for the production of printers.
Stereolithographic 3D printers are often used in dental prosthetics

The cost of 3D printers has been declining at a significant rate since about 2010: devices that cost $20,000 at the time are now $1,000 or less. Many companies and individual developers are already offering budget RepRap kits under $500. The [email protected] open source project has led to the development of general purpose printers capable of printing anything that can be squeezed through a nozzle, from chocolate to silicone putty and chemicals.
Printers based on this design have been available as kits since 2012 for around $2,000. Some 3D printers, including the mUVe 3D and Lumifold, are designed to be as affordable as possible from the start, with the Peachy Printer being priced around $100. .
Professional Kickstarter funded printers often perform well: Rapide 3D printers are quiet and fumes free at $1499. 3D Doodler's '3D Printing Pen' Raised $2.3M in Kickstarter donations, with a selling price of $99 for the device itself. True, it is difficult to call the 3D Doodler a full-fledged 3D printer.

3D Systems Cube is a popular consumer 3D printer

As prices drop, 3D printers are becoming more attractive for home production. In addition, home use of 3D printing technologies can reduce the environmental footprint of industry by reducing the volume of consumables and the energy and fuel costs of transporting materials and goods.

Parallel to the creation of home 3D-printing devices, the development of devices for processing household waste into printed materials, the so-called. Recyclebot. For example, the commercial model Filastrucer was designed to recycle plastic waste (shampoo bottles, milk containers) into inexpensive consumables for RepRap printers. Such methods of household disposal are not only practical, but also have a positive impact on the ecological situation.

The development and customization of RepRap 3D printers has created a new category of semi-professional printers for small businesses. Manufacturers such as Solidoodle, RoBo and RepRapPro offer kits for under $1,000. The accuracy of these devices is between industrial and consumer printers. Recently, high-performance printers using a delta-shaped coordinate system, or the so-called "delta robots", are gaining popularity. Some companies offer software to support printers made by other companies.


The use of LED projectors helps reduce the cost of stereolithography printers. In the illustration DLP printer Nova

3D printing allows you to equalize the cost of producing one part and mass production, which poses a threat to large-scale economies. The impact of 3D printing may be similar to the introduction of manufacture. In the 1450s, no one could predict the consequences of the printing press, in the 1750s, no one took the steam engine seriously, and transistors 19The 50s seemed like a curious innovation. But the technology continues to evolve and is likely to have an impact on every scientific and industrial branch with which it comes into contact.

The earliest application of additive manufacturing can be considered rapid prototyping, aimed at reducing the development time of new parts and devices compared to earlier subtractive methods (too slow and expensive). The improvement of additive manufacturing technologies leads to their spread in various fields of science and industry. The production of parts previously only available through machining is now possible through additive methods, and at a better price.
Applications include breadboarding, prototyping, molding, architecture, education, mapping, healthcare, retail, etc.
Industrial applications:
Rapid prototyping: Industrial 3D printers have been used for rapid prototyping and research since the early 1980s . As a rule, these are quite large installations using powder metals, sand mixtures, plastics and paper. Such devices are often used by universities and commercial companies.

Advances in rapid prototyping have led to the creation of materials suitable for the production of final products, which in turn has contributed to the development of 3D production of finished products as an alternative to traditional methods. One of the advantages of fast production is the relatively low cost of manufacturing small batches.

Rapid production: Rapid production remains a fairly new method whose possibilities have not yet been fully explored. Nevertheless, many experts tend to consider rapid production a new level of technology. Some of the most promising areas for rapid prototyping to adapt to rapid manufacturing are selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal sintering (DMLS).
Bulk customization: Some companies offer services for customizing objects using simplified software and then creating unique custom 3D models. One of the most popular areas was the manufacture of cell phone cases. In particular, Nokia has made publicly available the designs of its phone cases for user customization and 3D printing.
Mass production: The current low print speed of 3D printers limits their use in mass production. To combat this shortcoming, some FDM devices are equipped with multiple extruders, allowing you to print different colors, different polymers, and even create several models at the same time. In general, this approach increases productivity without requiring the use of multiple printers - a single microcontroller is enough to operate multiple printheads.

Devices with multiple extruders allow the creation of several identical objects from only one digital model, but at the same time allow the use of different materials and colors. The print speed increases in proportion to the number of print heads. In addition, certain energy savings are achieved through the use of a common working chamber, which often requires heating. Together, these two points reduce the cost of the process.

Many printers are equipped with dual printheads, however this configuration is only used for printing single models in different colors and materials.

Consumer and hobby use

Today, consumer 3D printing mainly attracts the attention of enthusiasts and hobbyists, while practical use is rather limited. However, 3D printers have already been used to print working mechanical clocks, woodworking gears, jewelry, and more. Home 3D printing websites often offer designs for hooks, doorknobs, massage tools, and more.

3D printing is also being used in hobby veterinary medicine and zoology – in 2013, a 3D printed prosthesis allowed a duckling to stand up, and hermit crabs love stylish 3D printed shells. 3D printers are widely used for the domestic production of jewelry - necklaces, rings, handbags, etc.

The [email protected] open project aims to develop general purpose home printers. The devices have been tested in research environments using the latest 3D printing technologies for the production of chemical compounds. The printer can print any material suitable for extrusion from a syringe in the form of a liquid or paste. The development is aimed at the possibility of home production of medicines and household chemicals in remote areas of residence.

Student project OpenReflex resulted in a design for an analog SLR camera suitable for 3D printing.


3D printing is gaining ground in the fashion world as couturiers use printers to experiment with swimwear, shoes and dresses. Commercial applications include rapid prototyping and 3D printing of professional athletic shoes - the Vapor Laser Talon for soccer players and New Balance for track and field athletes.

3D bioprinting

EBM titanium medical implants

3D printing is currently being researched by biotech companies and academic institutions. The research is aimed at exploring the possibility of using inkjet/drip 3D printing in tissue engineering to create artificial organs. The technology is based on the application of layers of living cells on a gel substrate or sugar matrix, with a gradual layer-by-layer build-up to create three-dimensional structures, including vascular systems. The first 3D tissue printing production system based on NovoGen bioprinting technology was introduced in 2009year. A number of terms are used to describe this research area: organ printing, bioprinting, computer tissue engineering, etc.

One of the pioneers of 3D printing, research company Organovo, conducts laboratory research and develops the production of functional 3D human tissue samples for use in medical and therapeutic research. For bioprinting, the company uses a NovoGen MMX 3D printer. Organovo believes that bioprinting will speed up the testing of new medicines before clinical trials, saving time and money invested in drug development. In the long term, Organovo hopes to adapt bioprinting technology for graft and surgical applications.

3D printing of implants and medical devices

3D printing is used to create implants and devices used in medicine. Successful surgeries include examples such as titanium pelvic and jaw implants and plastic tracheal splints. The most widespread use of 3D printing is expected in the production of hearing aids and dentistry. In March 2014, Swansea surgeons used 3D printing to reconstruct the face of a motorcyclist who was seriously injured in a road accident.

3D printing services

Some companies offer online 3D printing services available to individuals and industrial companies. The customer is required to upload a 3D design to the site, after which the model is printed using industrial installations. The finished product is either delivered to the customer or subject to pickup.

Exploring new applications

3D printing makes it possible to create fully functional metal products, including weapons.
Future applications of 3D printing may include the creation of open source scientific equipment for use in open laboratories and other scientific applications - fossil reconstruction in paleontology, the creation of duplicates of priceless archaeological artifacts, the reconstruction of bones and body parts for forensic analysis, the reconstruction of heavily damaged evidence collected from crime scenes. The technology is also being considered for application in construction.

In 2005, academic journals began to publish materials on the possibility of using 3D printing technologies in art. In 2007, the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine included 3D design in their list of the 100 most significant achievements of the year. The Victoria and Albert Museum at the London Design Festival in 2011 presented an exhibition by Murray Moss entitled "Industrial Revolution 2.0: how the material world materializes again", dedicated to 3D printing technologies.

In 2012, a University of Glasgow pilot project showed that 3D printing could be used to produce chemical compounds, including hitherto unknown ones. The project printed chemical storage vessels into which “chemical ink” was injected using additive machines and then reacted. The viability of the technology was proven by the production of new compounds, but a specific practical application was not pursued during the experiment. Cornell Creative Machines has confirmed the feasibility of creating food products using hydrocolloid 3D printing. Professor Leroy Cronin of the University of Glasgow has suggested using "chemical ink" to print medicines.

The use of 3D scanning technology makes it possible to create replicas of real objects without the use of casting methods, which are costly, difficult to perform and can have a destructive effect in cases of precious and fragile objects of cultural heritage.

An additional example of 3D printing technologies being developed is the use of additive manufacturing in construction. This could make it possible to accelerate the pace of construction while reducing costs. In particular, the possibility of using technology to build space colonies is being considered. For example, the Sinterhab project aims to explore the possibility of additive manufacturing of lunar bases using lunar regolith as the main building material. Instead of using binding materials, the possibility of microwave sintering of regolith into solid building blocks is being considered.

Additive manufacturing allows you to create waveguides, sleeves and bends in terahertz devices. The high geometric complexity of such products could not be achieved by traditional production methods. A commercially available professional EDEN 260V setup was used to create structures with a resolution of 100 microns. The printed structures were galvanized with gold to create a terahertz plasmonic apparatus.

China has allocated nearly $500 million. for the development of 10 national institutes for the development of 3D printing technologies. In 2013, Chinese scientists began printing living cartilage, liver and kidney tissue using specialized 3D bioprinters. Researchers at Hangzhou Dianqi University have even developed their own 3D bioprinter for this challenging task, dubbed Regenovo. One of Regenovo's developers, Xu Mingeng, said it takes less than an hour for the printer to produce a small sample of liver tissue or a four to five inch sample of ear cartilage. Xu predicts the emergence of the first full-fledged printed artificial organs within the next 10-20 years. That same year, researchers at the Belgian Hasselt University successfully printed a new jaw for an 83-year-old woman. After the implant is implanted, the patient can chew, talk and breathe normally.

In Bahrain, sandstone-like 3D printing has created unique structures to support coral growth and restore damaged reefs. These structures have a more natural shape than previously used structures and do not have the acidity of concrete.

Intellectual property

Section of liver tissue printed by Organovo, which is working to improve 3D printing technology for the production of artificial organs
3D printing has been around for decades, and many aspects of the technology are subject to patents, copyrights, and trademark protection. However, from a legal point of view, it is not entirely clear how intellectual property protection laws will be applied in practice if 3D printers become widely used.
distribution and will be used in household production of goods for personal use, non-commercial use or for sale.

Any of the protective measures may negatively affect the distribution of designs used in 3D printing or the sale of printed products. The use of protected technologies may require the permission of the owner, which in turn will require the payment of royalties.

Patents cover certain processes, devices, and materials. The duration of patents varies from country to country.

Often, copyright extends to the expression of ideas in the form of material objects and lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years. Thus, if someone creates a statue and obtains copyright, it will be illegal to distribute designs for printing of an identical or similar statue.

Influence of 3D printing

Additive manufacturing requires manufacturing companies to be flexible and constantly improve available technologies to stay competitive. Advocates of additive manufacturing predict that the opposition between 3D printing and globalization will escalate as home production displaces trade in goods between consumers and large manufacturers. In reality, the integration of additive technologies into commercial production serves as a complement to traditional subtractive methods, rather than a complete replacement for the latter.

Space exploration

In 2010, work began on the application of 3D printing in zero gravity and low gravity. The main goal is to create hand tools and more complex devices "as needed" instead of using valuable cargo volume and fuel to deliver finished products to orbit.
Even NASA is interested in 3D printing
At the same time, NASA is conducting joint tests with Made in Space to assess the potential of 3D printing to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of space exploration. Nasa's additive-manufactured rocket parts were successfully tested in July 2013, with two fuel injectors performing on par with conventionally produced parts during operational tests subjecting the parts to temperatures of around 3,300°C and high pressure levels. It is noteworthy that NASA is preparing to launch a 3D printer into space: the agency is going to demonstrate the possibility of creating spare parts directly in orbit, instead of expensive transportation from the ground.

Social change

The topic of social and cultural change as a result of the introduction of commercially available additive technologies has been discussed by writers and sociologists since the 1950s. One of the most interesting assumptions was the possible blurring of boundaries between everyday life and workplaces as a result of the massive introduction of 3D printers into the home. It also points to the ease of transferring digital designs, which, in combination with local production, will help reduce the need for global transportation. Finally, copyright protection may change to reflect the ease of additive manufacturing of many products.


In 2012, US company Defense Distributed released plans to create a "design of a functional plastic weapon that could be downloaded and played by anyone with access to a 3D printer." Defense Distributed has developed a 3D printed version of the receiver for the AR-15 rifle, capable of withstanding more than 650 shots, and a 30-round magazine for the M-16 rifle. The AR-15 has two receivers (lower and upper), but legal registration is tied to the lower receiver, which is stamped with a serial number. Shortly after Defense Distributed created the first working drawings for the production of plastic weapons in May 2013, the US State Department requested that the instructions be removed from the company's website.

The distribution of blueprints by Defense Distributed has fueled discussion about the possible impact of 3D printing and digital processing devices on the effectiveness of gun control. However, the fight against the proliferation of digital weapon models will inevitably face the same problems as attempts to prevent the trade in pirated content.

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Printing Organs: How Ears, Skin and Noses Are Made with a 3D Printer

  • Natalka Pisnya
  • BBC Russian Service, USA

Image copyright, Masela family archive

Photo caption,

Luc Masela with his parents one month after the artificial bladder transplant. year 2001.

Luc Masela, now 27, is an athlete with a degree in economics, works for a large exhibition company, travels a lot and recently met, in his words, "the most beautiful girl in the world." Both she and most of his current friends were extremely surprised when they learned that 17 years ago he survived a dozen and a half operations.

Luke was born with spina bifida - and although he was able to walk, his bladder was severely damaged. By the age of 10, he almost did not leave hospitals: due to improper functioning of the bladder, fluid began to return to the boy's kidneys, doctors diagnosed an irreversible pathology of the organ.

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Video caption,

"3D printed" organs are here

Doctors offered the family two solutions: lifelong dialysis or the creation of a new bladder from a segment of the intestine. This would guarantee Luke several years of medically supervised life and a high risk of developing cancer.

The urologist who was taking care of the boy invited the Masela family to take part in an experimental program: to grow a new bladder from his own cells. Then, in 2001, it sounded like science fiction: only nine people took part in the program before Luke. Despite this, his family agreed.

"The essence of the operation was reduced to two stages: first, a piece of bladder tissue was taken from me, and over the next two months, cells were grown in the laboratory in order to grow a new healthy bladder from them," says Luke.

Photo copyright, Masela family archive

Photo caption,

Luc Masela, 17 years after the artificial bladder transplant

Next was the transplant operation, which, according to him, lasted 16 hours. “I opened my eyes and saw a cut through my entire stomach, tubes of all possible sizes were sticking out of me, except for them - four IVs and a bottle-feeding machine,” he recalls. “I stayed in the hospital for another month, I was prescribed bed rest, after that I stayed at home for another month.

The operation was performed by Dr. Anthony Atala, Pediatric Regenerative Surgeon. In two months, out of a hundred patient cells, scientists created one and a half billion. Further, an engineering structure was created on a collagen frame: the bladder was “sculpted” like a two-layer pie, the core of which dissolved over time, and it started working like an ordinary organ, taking root thanks to Luke’s own cells.

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  • Swedish company 3D prints body parts

Luke and Dr. Atala haven't seen each other for 10 years after leaving the hospital. Once a dying child became the champion of the school wrestling team and went to college.

The professor took charge of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina in those 10 years, but he never forgot about Luke: his bladder was one of the most challenging and most successful projects in his early practice.

By 2018, Atala won the Christopher Columbus Award for "work on a discovery that will have a significant impact on society"; The Times and Scientific American magazines at various times named him "Physician of the Year", he was also recognized as "one of the 50 scientists on the planet who in the next 10 years will change the way we live and work."

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In the mid-2000s, the Atala team turned their attention to an ordinary household 3D printer and wrote special software for it, later specialized machines were created for the laboratory. Now the laboratory "grows" up to 30 different types of cells and organs, as well as cartilage and bones.

One of the team's latest achievements is ears and noses grown outside the human body.

The main customer and sponsor of Atala's developments is the US Department of Defense, and many of the patients are military victims of military operations.

It works like this: first, a CT scan of the ear or nose is done. One of Atala's assistants, Joshua Corpus, jokes that at this stage, people often ask to "improve" the shape of the nose if they thought theirs was too wide or hooked, and the ears if they were too wide.

After that, a special computer code is written, and the printing of the basis of the organs begins.

For this, a bioresorbable polymer, polycaprolactam, is used. At the same time flexible and durable, in the human body it disintegrates within four years.

After printing, the layers of polycaprolactam resemble lace; after transplantation, their place will be taken by a person's own cartilage tissue in a few years.

Polycaprolactam is then saturated with a gel created from the patient's cells, cooled to -18 degrees Celsius - so the cells, according to scientists, are not damaged, they are "alive and happy."

Image caption,

Printing a test kidney sample on a bioprinter

In order for the polymer and gel structure to take shape and become something more durable, ultraviolet light is used in the laboratory - it does not damage cells.

The future implant is printed for 4-5 hours, then it is finally formed and inserted under the epidermis.

It is also possible to grow skin: children affected by fires were the first to take part in the early trials of Atala - after the "printing" of the skin, scientists observed the patients for several more years. The new skin did not crack, did not burst, and grew with the children.

The most difficult work, according to the scientist, is facial wounds: it is not enough just to stretch the skin, you need to accurately calculate the geometry, align swelling, bone structure, and understand how a person will look after that.

In addition to the skin and ears, Atala can "print" the bones of the jaws, grow blood vessels and cells of some organs - the liver, kidneys, lungs.

This technology is especially appreciated by oncologists: on the basis of patients' cells, it is possible to recreate the body's response to various types of chemotherapy and observe the reaction to a particular type of treatment in the laboratory, and not on a living person.

But the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart are still being tested. Atala says he raised them in miniature, but creating organs from various tissues to real size requires a lot of additional research.

But, according to him, cells were grown in the laboratory and a vagina was created for a girl who was born several years ago with a congenital deformity of the genital organs - several years have passed since the transplant.

Image caption,

Bioprinted polycaprolactam ear implant base

Atala smiles and adds that his team is also working on a working penis. This research has been going on for several years, and the most troublesome for scientists is the complex structure of tissues and the specific sensitivity of the organ itself.

Among others, Igor Vasyutin, a Russian post-graduate student of the First Moscow State Medical University (MGMU) named after Sechenov, is working on this under laboratory conditions. He is a cell biologist, Atala's right hand.

Vasyutin has been in the USA for about a year - he came on an exchange. He is ready to talk about the behavior of stem cells for hours, but becomes less verbose when it comes to Russian science.

Vasyutin's alma mater has not reached mass regeneration of human organs and is still training on animals: local scientists "printed" a mouse thyroid gland on a 3D printer.

Research on human organs, however, is also being done there. According to the head of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at MSMU Denis Butnar, several years ago the Institute recreated a special engineering design of the buccal mucosa. She functioned perfectly for the first six months, but subsequently had to undergo a second operation.

Image caption,

A test sample of an ear implant exposed to ultraviolet light

In Russia, however, over the past few years, the Italian surgeon-transplantologist Paolo Macchiarini has been practicing in Russia - the man who was the first in history to perform a synthetic organ transplantation operation - a plastic tube that replaced the patient trachea.

  • Paolo Macchiarini: the rise and fall of the famous surgeon

However, seven of his nine patients died, and the breathing tubes implanted in the remaining two subsequently had to be replaced with donor ones.

Several criminal cases were brought against him, including on charges of pressure on patients and fraud, and the world's leading doctors called Macchiarini's operations "ethical Chernobyl."

Will printed organs replace donors?

At the zenith of his career, Macchiarini argued that a new perspective is opening up for humanity: you can "print" any human organ on a printer, create an engineering structure from it, enriched with the patient's stem cells, and get the perfect prosthesis.

Be that as it may, complex human organs - the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs - have not yet been able to grow any regenerative surgeon.

Bioprinting of the so-called simple organs, however, is already available in the US, Sweden, Spain and Israel - at the level of clinical trials and special programs.

The US government is actively investing in such programs - in addition to Wake Forest, cooperating with the Pentagon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also receives significant amounts to recreate the work of the liver, heart and lungs.

Image caption,

Skin application test on a burnt wound

According to Professor Jorge Raquela, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic Research Center, "Bioprinting is one of the most exciting branches of modern medicine, it has huge potential, and the turning point of the most important discoveries is already close."

Meanwhile, Pete Basillier, head of R&D at analytics firm Gartner, insists technology is advancing much faster than understanding the implications of 3D printing.

Such developments, according to Basilière, even created with the best of intentions, give rise to a set of questions: what will happen when "improved" organs are created, the basis of which will not only be human cells - will they have "superpowers"? Will a regulatory body be created to monitor their production? Who will check the quality of these organs?

More than 150,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants each year, according to a report from the US National Library of Medicine. Donor organs will receive only 18% of them; every day in the United States, without waiting for a transplant, 25 people die. Organ transplants and subsequent rehabilitation cost insurance companies and patients $300 billion in 2012 alone.

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Most Americans are potential donors: upon obtaining a driver's license, they voluntarily answer the question of whether they agree to donate their organs in the event of a car accident or other dangerous incident .

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