FIGURE 311: A patient's teeth 3D printed using high detail grey resin and an analog model cast from white gypsum (the traditional way
of making dental models). The veneers on the gypsum mold were fitted using the 3D printed models.
FIGURE 312: The process of creating a cast for a hand injury
using 3D scanning, CAD modeling and 3D printing.
able casts for bone injuries. Figure 3-12 shows
the concept of 3D scanning a part of a patient’s
anatomy, creating a 3D printed cast based on that
particular patient's geometry, and then being able
to adjust the model over time if needed.
New medical applications using 3D printing
are being developed by other companies for hip
replacements, prosthetics, and more. Not only can
you use 3D printing in your life, but it can be a part
of you, literally!
3D PRINTING HAS A SOLE
We can all relate to the sore feeling our feet have
after walking around all day. Some people have
more specialized needs for their feet due to medical
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conditions. The answer to alleviating that pain is often custom orthotics, but they are expensive and take
some time to produce. Companies have developed processes which can take your exact foot and condition
and create customized insoles using 3D printing. Rather than a lengthy fitting and hand fabrication process
to receive custom orthotics, a consumer can use the camera on their cell phone (via a downloaded appli-
cation), and a 3D model of the foot is generated just from those pictures. The 3D model is then used to
fabricate a custom insole that is lighter, cheaper, and manufactured more quickly than one produced using
traditional techniques (Figure 3-13). These 3D printed versions reduce the amount of fatigue both on your
feet and wallet by providing 3D printed insoles at a fraction of the cost and length of time to produce.
3D printing is ushering in an era of personal mass customization. From custom orthotics to custom ortho-
pedics, this technology can create hundreds of thousands of unique items for customers with all of the
complex work being taken care of through the software. And the manufacturing is done on-demand, right
when you order it! The capabilities demonstrated by these examples illustrate why 3D printing is becoming
increasingly relevant in your day-to-day life.
YOU CAN GO BIG
When consumers think about 3D printing, they think about the $500 crowdfunded printers but 3D printing
actually started with large, very expensive enterprise-level 3D printers that can cost up to $500,000 each.
Figures 3-14, 3-15, 3-16 and 3-17 show examples of these printers and what they can do.
FIGURE 313: A custom-fitted 3D printed orthotic. The holes are for aesthetics as well as weight reduction and make those areas
slightly more flexible, as dictated by the needs of the patient
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FIGURE 313: A custom-fitted 3D printed orthotic. The holes are for aesthetics as well as weight reduction and make those areas
slightly more flexible, as dictated by the needs of the patient
FIGURE 314: A row of HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers. (Courtesy Forecast3D)
FIGURE 315: Huge print
volume from a Stratasys
Fortus 900mc printer
(Courtesy Forecast3D)
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FIGURE 316: Rome, Italy. A huge industrial 3D printer builds a building made of cement automatically without the help of workers. The
printer is guided by the computer program.
Need to build a house? Why not use 3D printing to build some or all the walls? Believe it or not, companies
are building large scale 3D printers that use cement to create parts or all of structures. The cement is laid
down layer by layer as shown in Figure 3-16.
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FIGURE 316: Rome, Italy. A huge industrial 3D printer builds a building made of cement automatically without the help of workers. The
printer is guided by the computer program.
FIGURE 317: An example of a more refined 3D printed cement wall used in a housing project.
In the next chapter, we’ll dive into the hands-on part of this book by describing the most common consumer
3D printing technology: fused deposition modeling, or FDM for short. Turn the page to learn more!
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