More amazing 3D printing tech including replacement bones

printed bone replacementToday’s msm featured a story about some nufty stoner who printed hisself a lego gun. And knuckle dusters. Because plastic is really good for breaking and embedding in your digits. We’ll side step the obvious, that the gun wouldn’t be there if ganja was regulated. Ahem.

I’m already on record as being unimpressed about how the Australian media avoids reporting on global technology or the fact that we’re being left in the dust by countries we used to think of as “developing.” Which was sort of a PC way of saying it’s a shithole as a result of colonialism.

The fact is that Asia produces a much higher proportion of intelligent people educated in technology and computer science, while the west is still cost cutting.

With that in mind, here’s today’s roundup of 3D printed designs that can be used in health care. The bone replacement pictured above was picked up by ABC’s AM radio show and that was about it for the MSM down here. If it aired on Murdoch’s sites I wouldn’t know. I use the Murdoch blocker browser add on. Who has time for bad news written by those Dickensian dirtbags?

JEREMY KWARCINSKI: So we used this 3D image to determine exactly the shape and size of the missing segment of bone and so we’ve treated patients with injuries from sizes of about a twenty cent piece to missing about 40 per cent of the skull.

From the 3Ders article, which has some great pics including the one above:

While we’ve reported many high-tech applications of 3D printing technology that could revolutionize the medical world, like 3D printed bio tissue for artificial organs and blood vessels, most of these will take years to be implemented and safe lives on a large scale. However, a new 3D innovation developed by scientists from the University of Sydney, that could revolutionize head trauma surgery, is already being trialled on patients right now.

Many applications? You might not have seen them on the 6 o’clock news. Aside from bones to help keep your scone together, you can have a range of custom designed limbs.


That’s the Talon 3D printed bionic hand. The e-NABLE group who develop and distribute the plans for that have also recently worked with Marvel, the comics people, to produce a series of super hero hands for kids who need them.


e-nable-marvel prosthetics-9

I don’t care who you are. If you use scare tactics to put people off tech that can do that, you’re not a nice person. There’s more story and several great videos of the group effort that produced those hands for half a dozen kids in one workshop.

Perhaps the most important part about the event though was that it showed how easy it is to solve a problem that for decades was an expensive and oftentimes cumbersome experience for kids.  Only a few years ago, if one were to say that they were attending a ‘prosthetic-building party with a bunch of Super Heroes” they might have looked at you like you were crazy.  Today, with 3D printing being more accessible than ever, that is no longer the case.

Should super heroes not be to your taste, how about sci tech looking bionics? Daft Punk, anyone? There’s no LED strips yet. But how cool would they look with the carbon fibre bionics?

enable bionic hand awardOpen Bionics is based in Bristol. They’re on Plus, if you use that. They use light weight materials for custom designed, printable prosthetics. They’ve also been adapted for paralysed people, to provide movement with specially made frames. That’s Dan accepting the Best Product Innovation award for their work, at CES2015.

There’s more. These limbs can be adapted for animals.

Derby was born with under formed limbs. These days it’s not an obstacle. We just print new ones.

The skilled staff at 3D Systems soon set about crafting a custom set of prosthetic legs that would not only help Derby to move more naturally, but that would also let him live out his full potential as an energetic pet. Several design attempts later, they finally settled on an oval-tread shape, designed to fit Derby’s unique anatomy.

runnng dog prosthetic 3d print

Jeff Huber at Standard Cyborg has designed a 3D printable waterproof leg.

Walking legs are extremely expensive devices. They use metals which rust and components which should not go near the water. If you do take your leg in the water, you are familiar with wet socks and feet full of sand. Many amputees cannot rust up their walking leg and as a result, they choose to risk their safety by hopping into the pool, scooting into the ocean, or they just stay home altogether.

But it does not have to be this way. Our Water Leg gives you an array of new options! It allows you to get in and out of the water safely, easily, and comfortably. With our water leg, you can choose to run into the ocean, jump off the diving board into the pool, and rinse off after a swim! When you are all done, simply rinse off your leg with fresh water and carry on with your life. Have fun and keep going. It’s how it should be!

$499 US for a waterproof, custom fitted prosthetic leg. Printed in 20 hours.

Jeff Huber

As tempted as I am to let Jeff have the last word, there’s one more that deserves a mention. Mostly because the name gave me an engineering stiffy. Yes, that’s a thing. When the design is so elegant that it’s attractive on a purely intellectual basis. Like the abundance by design philosophy. Ladies, Gentlemen and variations thereupon, may I present the DeltaWASP.

Italian made, the DeltaWASP is a delta type 3D printer with a large print capacity. The 40 cm available height has been used by Marco Avaro at Del Bene Orthopedics in a new design for custom made limbs.

The printing of prostheses and orthopedic products is definitely one of the most promising markets in the world of 3D printing. As shown by 3DPI’s increased recent coverage on initiatives by Gyrobot, e-NABLE, Nicolas Huchet and Bionico (and many more) it continues to pick up steam. Even, or actually, especially at a desktop 3D printing level. It seems that many professional prostheses manufacturers, who were previously using traditional methods, may now be switching to 3D printers. Marco Avaro, a biomedical engineering in the Friuli region of Italy, is the latest to do so, by acquiring a €2,300 DeltaWASP 2040 system and cutting prostheses production times from 8 to 2 hours.


That’s about $5k in Australian dollars. This is the sort of rig that would make a lot of sense to have available at a local Community Centre where it could be utilised by large numbers of people. It would pay for itself in no time. It an use a bunch of different print polymers. It’s big.

And in case you use it to print super light, durable wheels for your carbon fibre go kart and wipe yourself out, you can get a 3D printed cast that’s designed to facilitate faster healing. Designed by a Russian skateboarder.

A plaster cast is still needed in the first stages of repairing a break as it enables doctors to control and adjust the initial bone union. This lasts for about a week until the swelling subsides. After this the 3D-printed version can take its turn.

Production of the new type of cast takes about 12 hours in terms of the actual printing, and the subsequent fitting can be completed in less than an hour.

Doctors can control the elasticity of the new casts, thus providing their patients with a lightweight, comfortable and hygienic bio-plastic alternative which is waterproof and lets the skin underneath breathe.

You sign it with a sharpie.

The Russians are also printing bones to repair skull injuries. So Australia isn’t that far behind. Except the bit about the Thyroid made for transplant, utilising 3D print technology.

Not only is this great tech, which utilises Open Source development, providing career opportunities for millions of people, think of what the reduction in international shipping will do for the environment. No more waiting weeks or months for something to roll off a production line and travel around the planet in a container, get the local computer users down to the Community Centre and roll off whatever you need. So. Many. Opportunities.


About Syburi

Witch, bitch, creatrix; hippie, dreamer, gardener. Lover of books, music, rescue animals, piss and vinegar.
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