Building the medical bionics industry with 3D printing
Additive Fabrication, also known as 3D printing, will soon be used to ‘print’ objects including protein growth factors and living cells.
UOW’s Professor Gordon Wallace from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) today highlighted the dramatic impact Additive Fabrication is having on the field of medical bionics, at the 15th International Conference on Advances in Materials and Processing Technologies in Wollongong.
“While Additive Fabrication may seem like a nice addition to traditional manufacturing approaches, in many areas it is the only viable approach when complex, multifunctional structures as encountered in emerging medical bionic devices are to be progressed,” said Professor Wallace.
Additive Fabrication builds 3D objects by printing layer upon layer of material, and is capable of swiftly fabricating complex devices.
“Traditional manufacturing does not allow for the assembly of complex, delicate biological entities assembled in such a way that the composition and mechanical properties can be distributed as needed in a 3D structure,” said Professor Wallace.
“Additive Fabrication can do all this!”
“Current commercially available Additive Fabrication systems are tremendous tools but limited to only a few materials,” he said.
“At ACES, we are creating customised systems that are capable of creating 3D structures containing conducting elements for electrical stimulation, protein growth factors and even living cells distributed throughout.”
Conventional Additive Fabrication printing systems are actually being used to create specialised components for next generation printers. Pictured at top is 3D printed extrusion tips for a next generation printer.