They develop a new method of 3D printing: much faster than the current ones and for printing organs
3D printing has enormous potential, surprises in many aspects and there are even those he makes a living out of it. However, it can be daunting when we come across the reality that it takes hours and sometimes days to print something. Now researchers propose a new method that they say is between 10 and 50 times faster than the previous ones.
The research has been carried out by a team from the University of Buffalo and their results have been published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. It is a method with which, for example, they achieve print one coat of flexible material in as little as 19 minutes. To put this in context, traditional 3D printing methods need at least 6 hours of work.
That’s the keyword, stereolithography. This is the 3D printing method they have used and is based on use lasers to harden a liquid resin and hydrogels. Hydrogels absorb large amounts of water without dissolving and are commonly used for contact lenses for example. It is not a completely new printing method, but here it has been adapted to make it faster and ideal for flexible materials. It is a technology not far from the light printing.
What the technique essentially does is use lasers to harden the liquid material that makes up the final object. In this way, as the liquid solidifies, it gives shape to the object that you want to print. This is how, for example, the hand emerges from the liquid container in the following video:
As indicated, their method is between 10 and 50 times faster than others previously used and standard in the industry. What’s more works with large objects, which is generally more difficult to do due to the size of traditional 3D printers.
They believe that their method is especially interesting when printing artificial organs. Artificial organs are often made of flexible materials to mimic natural ones and often need to be adapted in form and function to each patient. Hence, it is interesting to use 3D printers to create them to everyone’s preference. They say their method can print cells with embedded blood vessel networks. Something that would be of great help for the construction of human tissue and organs in the future.
If this is going to be the future for artificial organ printing, time will tell. They are not the only ones with one eye there, we also have the creator of SegWay who sees human organ fabrication viable in ten years. In japan actually they already experiment with it, growing human organs in animals.