A Fleetwood, Lancashire woman in the UK is enjoying better health today, able to perform daily tasks at home, not flinching when she coughs or sneezes—but best of all, she is now able to hug her one-year-old granddaughter. All this progress is due to a 3D printed implant fitted and inserted by surgeon, Dr. Ehab Bishay, at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
After her chest plate collapsed twice post-surgery, it was obvious another solution was needed—but without anything to attach another metal plate to, her previous doctors were running out of options; however, Linda had watched a documentary featuring Dr. Bishay’s work, and she made contact with him after finding him on social media.
Although she was told she would need to ‘apply’ to have the surgery both for funding and to be cleared for the operation, she steadfastly did so and waited two years to have her 3D printed sternum implanted by Dr. Bishay—making her case the third in Britain (and fifth internationally) to undergo such a procedure.
“I woke up from the operation feeling terrible and, at one point, I thought I had died, but I am feeling better every day,” she said, also mentioning that the doctors told her to take it easy and even joked with her about not falling over because she had so much money’s worth of metal in her body to protect now.
“I still feel numb because I am on a lot of drugs, but the main thing is my ribcage doesn’t keep shifting about,” explained Linda. “It feels incredible I have had an operation as advanced as this. I feel like I’ve got my life back.”
“It’s priceless. I can hold my granddaughter and that’s the best feeling in the world.”
Dr. Bishay and his team were able to open Linda’s chest again while being careful to avoid any trauma to the previous bypass area or her heart.
“It’s fantastic to see Mrs. Edwards is doing extraordinarily well given the complexity of the procedure she has undergone,” said Dr. Bishay. “My team and I removed Mrs. Edward’s original breastbone and inserted the custom-built prosthesis.”
“The plastic surgery team, led by Mr. Haitham Khalil, harvested several muscle flaps to cover all the extensive components of the prosthesis, a fundamental step in this operation,” continued Dr. Bishay. “Fortunately, complications such as those experienced by Mrs. Edward’s following previous heart surgery are rare but are notoriously difficult to manage.”
While 3D printing is an amazing technology spawning countless, fascinating inventions, we would still be going a bit far to say such processes have changed the world; they have, however, changed the lives of many patients already, worldwide—with some receiving chest implants and titanium 3D printed sternums, and even composite sternums and rib cages. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
[Source / Images: Daily Mail]
In terms of 3D printing, China is still a big unknown. Yes, we’re all familiar with printers from firms such as Flashforge that can be found all over the world. Beyond those global players however, China is a bit of a mystery for us. As you may have noticed, we’re doing many articles on women in 3D printing, 3D printing in Africa, 3D printing resellers, and 3D printing in South America. We hope to reach underexposed 3D printing areas and stories in order to give you a better picture of the entire industry, as it is not as the media imagines it to be. Now, we’ll also take more of a closer look at what is going on in China.
Beyond desktop printers, there is a growing and vibrant Chinese 3D printing industry emerging and they may yet challenge established European and American companies. One such emerging firm is FacFox, a 3D printing service that started with humble desktop 3D printers and in a few years grew to a large and diversified service working with clients all over the globe. We talked to Edi Weigh at FacFox to find out more.
Weigh sees, “FacFox as a one-stop manufacturing platform to realize creation, we make the ideal into real products.”
“It all started with a tiny spark of inspiration when we were college students, after hearing about the 3D printer’s capability and it’s potential in creative and manufacturing industry, so we came across the idea to start a workshop that provides customized 3D printing service. We bought our first Prusa Mendel at 2013, then MakerBot 2X and Rostock Delta Printer in 2015.”
Beginning with entry level systems was always going to be a challenge. Given the state of systems in 2014, this would have been almost impossible unless one was armed with extreme perseverance. Interestingly, India’s largest service bureau Objectify also started with desktop machines. In Europe and the US services commonly start with much larger entry-level industrial systems. Whereas Objectify stuck to a centralized service however, FacFox took a much more distributed path.
“a while after the establishment of our workshop, a serious issue started to bother us. With only a few FDM 3D printers we were not able to meet the diversified requirements of clients’ projects. That was when we realized that we needed to embrace the power of a collaborative network. So we created a first primitive website to display the 3D printers connected to us.”
Weigh says, “yes, we got inspiration from 3Dhubs and we really appreciate it.” Rather than focus on consumer 3D printers however, FacFox became a network connecting industrial 3D printing companies in China.
“By 2015, we had gathered over 200 printing companies in China, and started to provide informational services to connect those companies with customers. It didn’t work as expected since there is no added value by only sharing information with 3D printing services, what’s more, the biggest issue remained unsolved: versatility.”
The company clearly had to experiment more with their business model and offering but importantly it was acquiring knowledge.
“If you ask me, what was very beneficial to us in this period, I’d say we learned the limits of 3D printing(especially FDM 3D Printing). Clients want a turnkey solution to realize their creations, the method to achieve this goal is not their top concern. So we started to collect information of both additive and substractive manufacturing methods, and opened our own consulting business to provide a one-stop production plan.”
Pivoting from an in house desktop service towards a 3DHubs for industrial and then yet again towards a one-stop design and fulfillment service may seem dizzying but it shows a company that evolves to meet the market.
“In 2016, we were funded by venture capital and grew rapidly by partnering with the largest 3D printer manufacturers and service providers, we started to step outside our country and target the global market. Now we have full-stack solution for different industries. This is what keeps us growing.”
Right now FacFox offers 3D printing in metal and polymers, CNC, urethane casting, blow molding, injection molding, sheet fabrication, die casting and other processes through one portal. In other places, 3D printing services may be more focused on polymers for example or perhaps even on one technology. Weigh believes that having lots of options helps customers to do what they need. The firm has EOS M280, EOS M400, ConceptLaser M2 and Farsoon and Zrapid metal printers, and offers SST 316L, Aluminium, Bronze, Titanium, Co-Cr, IN625 and IN718.
“It is crucial that 3D printing and CNC machining are both provided, both methods have their own Pros and Cons, 3D printing is fast and cost-efficient for objects with small size and complex geometry, however CNC machining is more accurate and stable in dimensional accuracy, which also costs a lot less in large objects and bulk production. We need to provide an optimal solution to produce a client’s project irrespective of the technology.”
The company considers its key to success is “to think thoroughly about the value you can offer to the client, don’t recommend 3D printing just because it’s lucrative, only by selecting the method with the best quality versus cost can you gain trust and satisfaction from your clients.”
The company really believes in its turnkey solutions approach and thinks that this will save clients time, money and worry.
Weigh sees FacFox’s “core value is to minimize the expense and maximize the quality and efficiency, which is exactly what we pursue. If you are seeking to realize your creation in the best method, then we are the right one you are looking for.”
Researchers are looking into ways to optimize biomedical monitoring, with their results outlined in ‘A 3D Printed High-Dielectric Filled Elliptical Double-Ridged Horn Antenna for Biomedical Monitoring Applications.’ Seeking to make further impacts in the field of medical science, the team from Queen Mary University of London has 3D printed an innovative device for sensing applications with wireless technology—based on ultra-wideband devices initially created for short-range wireless communications.
Created to work within UK Communications Industries (Ofcom) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation of UWBs, the new device has been found to offer depth suitable for penetration in scanning skin, muscle, and fat, with signals able to sense layer thicknesses. Wide-band technologies are often used for short-range communication due to:
- Low power
- High data rates
- Multipath immunity
- Simultaneous ranging and communication
While this type of antenna is not new, the use of 3D printing is novel. The double-ridged horn has been a topic of research over the years for researchers because of the benefits, leading to a more effective answer to refining accuracy in biomedical scanning. And while 3D printing can offer greater affordability in many cases, here the research team was concerned about cost-prohibitive fabrication, so they compared materials, ultimately settling on in-house 3D printing with ABS.
The shape of the horn allows for better operation overall, and the high dielectric material allows for a miniaturized design that also reduces reflection and is both easy and affordable to make. With an extension, the scientists were able to expand on the antenna and prevent signal-overlapping issues.
“The optimal approach is to extend the outer aperture of the antenna, and to define, the antenna outer aperture length, so the scanning tissue area can be placed in the far-field region,” stated the researchers. “This has added more complexity to the fabrication and realization of the device with the increased cost, but on the other hand, it has made it more stable in its operation, and free of any destructive interference signals and noise.”
The team used the Stratasys Objet30 Prime 3D printer for creating their prototype, finishing it with clear Vero polyethylene, stating that hardware and materials not only offered high resolution, accuracy, and conductivity, but also affordability in fabrication.
Measurements were found to be accurate also, as they addressed concerns regarding individual and other influences like scanning areas and layer structure but concluded that there should be very little variance between ‘permittivity and thickness.’ If an impact on the results was noted, the researchers explained that added calibration measures could be taken with an open-ended probe, with software producing the results.
“This design incorporates the extension for locating the antenna in the far-field region of the scanning area, for the plane-waves to penetrate more directly into the body. Moreover, the antenna can operate at the lower frequency band of WB to exhibit a better penetration depth and impedance matching using the mixture for the biomedical application, which monitoring very deep inside the body is the main objective of the system,” concluded the researchers at the end of their study.
3D printing has offered much greater expansion opportunities for scientists and engineers interested in creating better devices for sensing and monitoring, from automotive sensors to electrochemical sensing, and 3D printed models for better monitoring.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
Researchers around the world continually surprise us with innovation, but rarely do they reach into the roots of popular culture—and the food that accompanies it—applying it to the world of bioprinting…and with hot dogs in mind, no less. However, that’s exactly what has inspired German and Chinese scientists to build bioprinting structures, with their study outlined in the recently published ‘3D Printing of Hot Dog-Like Biomaterials with Hierarchical Architecture and Distinct Bioactivity.’
The researchers fabricated hierarchical structures using direct ink writing (DIW), with the hot dog structure figuring in with the use of tubes:
“The scaffolds are composed of hollow bioceramic tubes (mimicking the “bread” in hot dogs, pore size: ≈1 mm) embedded by bioceramic rods (mimicking the “sausage” in hot dogs, diameter: ≈500 µm) and the sausage‐like bioceramic rods possess uniformly aligned lamellar micropores (lamellar pore size: ≈30 µm),” said the researchers.
While hierarchical structures are often used in bioprinting, it can be challenging to find suitable materials in creating micro/nanostructures, and especially with DIW. And while challenges have continued in implanting 3D printed scaffolds to regenerate bone growth, there has been some success. The researchers contend, however, that hierarchy in structure is needed to promote better tissue growth, with the ‘hot-dog like structure’ lending itself to better cell adhesion and supply of nutrients, with the rods enhancing delivery of osteogenic drugs.
“By mimicking the function of nutrition supply for sausages in hot dog, the potential of the scaffolds for loading icariin (Ica, a model osteogenic drug), was investigated in this study,” explained the researchers.
“However, the Ica loading efficiency and capacity of S‐AKT were much lower than that of HD‐AKT, indicating the excellent loading capacity of the hierarchical hot dog‐like scaffolds. The thermogravimetric analysis further verified the significantly improved loading efficiency of HD‐AKT scaffolds as compared to those without hot dog microstructure.”
The research team also discovered that other drugs could be distributed too, such as the large molecule protein bull serum albumin (BSA). Even more encouraging, the researchers found that the scaffolds exhibited ‘excellent bioactivity,’ proven through in vivo processes for bone regeneration as they implanted drugs into ‘rabbit femoral defects’ for eight weeks with no inflammation, and proof of bone tissue growth.
“Our study suggests that the hot dog‐like scaffolds can be used for the multifunctional biomaterials for drug delivery, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. The combined strategy of DIW 3D printing with bidirectional freezing is a promising method to prepare biomimetic and hierarchical biomaterials,” concluded the researchers.
While man-made processed foods are certainly inspiring to many, undoubtedly nature continues to propel scientists and designers forward from creating conductive parts to custom-made shoes, and liquid polymers for 3D printing. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
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Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Farsoon Technologies collaborated with American tooling production company Next Chapter Manufacturing to develop DMLS (direct metal laser sintering) 3D printing parameters for H13 tool steel. H13 steel has historically been very difficult to process with laser sintering due to its high carbon content, which is prone to evaporate at the extreme […]
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