Nov.28, 2012 | By Cynthia Lange
Today at Euromold we had a chance to speak with Mr. Carlos Carvalho who specializes in process and material development for envisionTEC's 3D Bioplotter. He showed us the 3D-Bioplotter in action.
(Click to enlarge)
First, an object is placed on the platform of the printer upon – a petri dish for example. Then the printer automatically measures the height of the object to make sure everything is calibrated correctly. Mr. Carvalho placed a paper card on the platform of the 3D-Bioplotter to demonstrate how the machine works.
Mr. Carvalho then talked us through the printing process. To begin, a liquid or a liquefied material – in this case a silicone paste – is pressed through a needle-like tip by applying air pressure. The needle moves in all three dimensions which means it is able to create a three dimensional object. The printer is called ‘Bioplotter’ because the unique aspect of this machine is its use of biomaterials to make implants or other objects for biomedical application.
Some of the implants which are made using the 3D Bioplotter are intended to dissolve in the body. The materials which are used in this application include PLLA, PLGA, and silicone.
Implants made with thermoplastics [a polymer which becomes pliable above a specific temperature] – degrade in the body into mostly water and CO2 – and are removed by the body naturally in a few months. Other materials, such as ceramic paste, may also be used to print implants. The implants printed using ceramic paste do not dissolve. Instead, the body absorbs this material and use it to create new bone. This actually speeds up the process of the body’s regeneration.
The 3DBioplotter also prints hydrogels – such as collagen or alginate. These materials can have human cells actually added to them. Thus human cells may be printed directly with this machine.
The 3D-Bioplotter has five ‘parking positions’ and can actually change from one material to another; so it can print up to five materials per object. This means, when printing cells, that up to five different kinds of cells may be printed in one object. It’s helpful if these cells are from the patient who is receiving the implant because it reduces the possibility of the body’s rejecting it. However, if the implant is implanted without cells included, the body will simply typically just take a few days or weeks longer to begin regenerating itself.
Thank you to Mr. Carlos Carvalho for sharing his expertise through this informative and pleasant demonstration.
Features: (Source: Envisiontec)
- 3-Axis positioning system.
- Automatic tool changing system.
- Linear slides with ball bearing.
- Heatable base plate with vacuum fixation system.
- Tool magazine with park positions for 5 dispensing heads.
- High temperature dispensing head (up to 250°C).
- Low temperature dispensing head (8°C to 50°C).
- Resolution (XYZ) - 50µm.
- Working Area (XYZ) - 300 x 300 x 130 mm.
- Micro Step Operation - 10,000 Substeps/turn.
- Speed - 1 to 50 mm/s.
- Overall Size (LWH) - 600 x 700 x 500 mm.
- Weight - ca. 30 kg.
- The system needs 6 bar air pressure.
Posted in 3D Printers
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John Davidson wrote at 11/30/2012 12:20:47 AM:
We printed cells successfully using the bioplotter
David wrote at 11/30/2012 12:17:30 AM:
The accuracy of this. Bio plotter is amazing