First, an object is placed on the platform of the printer upon – a petrie dish for example. Then the printer must check 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 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 – as they are mostly water and CO2 – are removed by the body naturally in around a week or two. 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 uses this material 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.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!
Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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