…Roland Lian Cung Bawi, the 14 month old son of two Burmese immigrants, now residing in Owensboro, Kentucky, had major defects to his tiny little heart. The defects, which included a hole in his heart as well as misaligned aorta and pulmonary arteries, if untreated would have doomed Roland to a short unhealthy life. This is when Surgeon Erle Austin stepped in. Austin initially had 2D images of Roland’s heart, which he showed to several other surgeons, on his path to correct Roland’s condition. The problem was that the 2D scans were not precise enough, leading to several surgeons offering different suggestions on how to proceed. This is not the kind of advice a surgeon likes to receive, leading up to a major operation.
This is when Austin decided to turn to the School of Engineering at Louisville. They used a Makerbot Replicator 2X, 3D Printer to create a model of Roland’s heart, and all its defects. The model was printed in 3 separate pieces so that the surgeons could take it apart and see the interior.
“Once I had a model, I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I could do it,” said Austin to the Courier Journal, “It was a tremendous benefit.”
Having the model 3D printed allowed Austin to cut out a significant part of exploratory surgeries, and also shorten the time it took to operate on the tiny, delicate heart. The surgery was successfully completed on Monday, February 10th, and marked the first use of a 3D printer in the state of Kentucky for a pediatric heart patient. Roland is doing well and his family is relieved….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you 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 LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
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’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!