Apr 6, 2016 | By Alec

Surely the most anticipated 3D printing application is that of the 3D bioprinting of human organ tissue, though this technology will doubtlessly be confined to laboratories for a few more years. As we revealed two months ago, however, that research field is about to receive a significant hardware boost in the form of Edison Invivo 3D bioprinter, by South Korean 3D printer manufacturers ROKIT. While quite little was revealed about that machine at the time, its developers have just shed more light on that upcoming 3D bioprinter, and have simultaneously unveiled another very interesting, non-medical 3D printer. Called the Stealth 300, this 3D printer can 3D print up to three different materials simultaneously using a single nozzle, including soft and hard polymers.

ROKIT, as you might know, is one of the foremost 3D printer manufacturers in South Korea. One of the fastest growers in the South Korean market, they have a wide range of consumer and professional machines in their catalogue already. The only thing that was missing was a 3D bioprinter, they have been working on one since the summer of 2015, when they received a $3 million USD government grant to develop one in in collaboration with a variety of renowned South Korean medicine research organizations.

The Edison Invivo 3D printer is their first result, with ‘In Vivo’ meaning ‘within the living’. Expected to be significantly cheaper than existing 3D bioprinters, this South Korean creation features a reimagined mechanical setup that lowers costs while still providing users with the ability to 3D print bio inks – and a far wider range of materials than its competitors. Featuring both an extrusion and a liquid dispensing tool, it can 3D print PLGA, PCL, PLLA, collagen, Alginate, Silk fibroin, and more. It is further equipped with a XYZ resolution of 1.5 micron, a 0.15-0.8 bio ink needle, and heats bio inks to 80 degrees Celsius. The company expects that this broad field of materials will alter the landscape of 3D bioprinting, providing researchers with a lot more options.

The idea, of course, is that the Edison Invivo 3D printer can grow cells in 3D structures that become transplantable tissues, and the company has reiterated its goals during a showcase meeting with a group of experts from the ‘The Korean Society of Biomaterials’ in late March. “While existing 3D bio printers can only extrude either solid form or liquid form, ‘INVIVO’ is the world’s first ‘hybrid’ 3D bio printer, which can print both solid scaffold for hard-tissues and liquid bio inks for soft-tissues at the same time,” they reveal. “A three-dimensional structure of cell, fabricated by ‘INVIVO’, is designed to be used for the purpose of research on transplantation of artificial organs, skins, cranium and so on.” The Edison Invivo will hit the market in April of this year.

Furthermore, ROKIT revealed to be working on a new pharmaceutical version as well. Called ‘3Dison Pharma’, it is expected to be released in July of this year, and has been specifically adapted for the development of pharmaceutical drugs. “The reason why customized medicine is needed is that existing medicines have been mass-produced for the general population, not for the unique individual patient,” they say. With this machine, customized 3D printed medicine will give researchers and patients exact control of their dosage. ROKIT is currently in talks with South Korean pharmaceutical companies to set up a supply line.

But the core of ROKIT’s 3D printing activities can be found outside the medical world, and that’s exactly here the Stealth 300 can be found. While several multi-material 3D printers already exist in various shapes and sizes, the Stealth 300 can actually simultaneously use up to three different materials and colors with a single extruder. While most 3D printers struggle with material residue when working with different materials, ROKIT says this doesn’t trouble their special ‘3 in 1 nozzle. “[It] has made it able to print out with multi-materials and colors through the nozzle, while other existing FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printers still uses a nozzle that can extrude only one material at a time,” they say. “This new model is designed to better serve users’ needs, especially in manufacturing industry and for educational purposes, and it makes it easier to print supporting materials such as HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene), PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol).” What’s more, it can easily combine soft and hard polymers in a single object.

While that feature alone should justify purchasing this stylish 3D printer, ROKIT has gone even further and made this a completely stand-alone desktop 3D printer. An embedded 1GHz CPU, LCD touch screen (Android OS) and a print bed camera enables users to open 3D files, slice G-Code, 3D print and monitor progress without the need for an additional computer. While everyone will have a PC standing nearby anyway, this does save you quite a bit of hassle. “Also, compared to existing 3D printers that function only as ‘printers’, this new model has equipped aspects of smart devices; to apply ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) it has installed Android OS, which builds up IoT (Internet of Things) functions of 3DISON series and improves connectivity with various smart devices,” they add.

Together with the excellent multi-material 3D printing options, this makes the Stealth 300 a very tantalizing option indeed. Together with a print speed of more than 400mm per second, a 290 x 180 x 200 mm build platform and a 25 micron layer thickness, and list of available materials that includes PLA, ABS, PC, Skinflex, Marble and Cool PLA, there’s little to complain about. ROKIT’s CEO Yoo Seok-hwan went as far as saying this is a well-optimized machine that is perfectly in tune with the demands of the time, and we can’t disagree. “The company will keep the lead of the movement of popularization of 3D printing with a constant stream of new innovative products that meet customer needs,” he promised. As you can see in the image below, multiple sizes of the Stealth 3D printer are also expected.

So when can you get your hands on it? The Stealth 300 will be officially launched at the Inside 3D Printing conference in New York, which will be held from 10 to 12 April. However, you might have taken a glimpse at it already at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in February, where it garnered a lot of attention and already received significant numbers of pre-orders. 2016, it seems, is set to be a very successful year for ROKIT.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Alvaro wrote at 4/6/2016 2:58:45 PM:

Amazing! I think this device can boost the research of professor Saso Ivanovisk .

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