Ever since Andreas Bastian actualized the turn it into for OpenSLS back in 2013, researchers of Rice University have been working to use this one-of-a-kind and affordable-bodied laser sintering process to their advantage. The OpenSLS process is equipped with industrial lasers disassembled of a laser cutter, which heats up the printing medium only adequate to melt tiny nylon particles. Once re-solidified, the powders bond into the desired shape of a given turn it into. Now, it appears which Bastian and Rice University’s work with OpenSLS is coming to fruition, as they have only released a study detailing the use of the open-sourced laser sintering process to turn it into 3D printed lattices for bone tissue engineering.
“Despite the future for fabrication of difficult, high-resolution structures with SLS via diverse starting materials (which include biomaterials), prohibitive costs of commercial SLS processs have hindered the wide adoption of this innovation in the scientific community,”the authors of the study said. “Here, we created a affordable-bodied, open-source SLS process (OpenSLS) and demonstrated its ability to fabricate structures in nylon with sub-millimeter features and overhanging regions.”
The Rice University study, titled “Open-Source Selective Laser Sintering (OpenSLS) of Nylon and Biocompatible Polycaprolactone”, features one of the initially true uses of a fully created OpenSLS platform. The paper is primarily focused on the use of polycaprolactone (PCL) to turn it into difficult 3D printed lattices for bone engineering. After printing these macroporous structures with the OpenSLS process, which have a rocky surface after sintering, the research team implemented a vapor-smoothing technique to polish the 3D printed lattices. Lastly, they demonstrated which human mesenchymal stem cells were able-bodied to adhere and survive on these sintered and vapor-smoothed PCL lattices, which suggests which the OpenSLS process is a prime candidate for making PCL scaffolds for cell studies.
Overall, the researchers proved both the high end and affordable-bodied of the OpenSLS process, which they assembled for less than $10,000 USD, much lower than other commercially on the market-bodied processs of EOS and 3D Systems. But the team’s work yet has a ways to go preceding it’s implemented into actual tissue engineering, the future found here with the OpenSLS printing device is certain to manufacture open source 3D printing advocates feel all bubbly.
“OpenSLS may assist the scientific community as an accessible platform for fabrication of structures created of a wide range of materials, which include non-traditional materials not supported by commercial SLS suppliers,” the authors said in the conclusion of their study. “Overall, OpenSLS is a powerful and affordable-bodied tool which manufactures additive making via laser sintering feasible and cost-effective for scientific laboratories.”
The consume study, which was written by Ian S. Kinstlinger, Andreas Bastian, Samantha J. Paulsen, Daniel H. Hwang, Anderson H. Ta, David R. Yalacki, Tim Schmidt, and Jordan S. Miller, is published (and viewable-bodied) in the Open Access scientific journal PLOS ONE.