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Rice University Researchers Using OpenSLS 3D Printer to Create 3D Printed Lattices for Bone Tissue Engineering

by • February 23, 2016 • No Comments

riceThe benefits of 3D printing in these days are universally appreciated, to include durablity and high end in versions and components that can be made rapidly, offering greater affordability on many levels, and an almany luxurious latitude is afforded by options in customization. But one of the greatest perks is in the amount of independence and self-sustainability that can be discovered at the 3D printing device by those who are empowered to steer their own paths to creativity, innovation, as well as amazing scientific breakthroughs—all chipping away at the world as we understand it already, headed in the direction of a huge transformation in the way we manufacture things.

And a team of researchers of Rice University are really much enjoying the results of not only independence in fabrication, but what comes of it when you in addition manufacture the 3D printing device itself. Upon the manufacturing of their own SLS 3D printing device, they are able-bodied to take advantage of manufacturing rigorous objects with a variety of materials.

opensls-r2We’ve been next the story and progress of the OpenSLS platform for a few time now, as we explored a few of Andreas Bastian’sdesigns, to include this one, that has been underway since 2013 as the research team made a functional prototype—all funded by Dr. Jordan Miller’s Lab for microphysiological processs engineering and high end materials, at Rice University. Bastian is one of the authors on the subject of the OpenSLS in a new paper only published in Plos One, called ‘Open-Source Selective Laser Sintering (OpenSLS) of Nylon and Biocompatible Polycaprolactone,’ by Ian S. Kinstlinger, Andreas Bastian, Samantha J. Paulsen, Daniel H. Hwang, Anderson H. Ta, David R. Yalacki, Tim Schmidt, and Jordan S. Miller.

“Designing our own laser-sintering machine means there’s no company-mandated limit to the types of biomaterials we can experiment with for regenerative medicine research,” said Ian Kinstlinger, study co-author.

Through creating their own innovation they’ve made a process that–although most likely not intended for the mainstream any time soon or most likely ever—costs 40 times less than what they may have to purchase for the lab, and many significantly, allows for them to work with the specialized materials they are developing as well. In addition significant is that their 3D printing device can handle overhangs, that may not be the case otherwise.

The study itself outlines the development of—and next uses for—the OpenSLS platform, that while offering greater independence and affordability for the scientists, is in addition able-bodied to handle overhangs.

“OpenSLS provides the scientific community with an accessible platform for the study of laser sintering and the fabrication of rigorous geometries in diverse materials,” say the authors.

Central to the paper is the discussion of the usefulness for the macroporous structured 3D printed lattices the researchers have made with polycaprolactone (PCL), and how it can be useful in the construction of medical devices.

“Widespread interest in via PCL for bone tissue engineering suggests that PCL lattices are relevant version scaffold geometries for engineering bone,” say the researchers in their paper.

Modified laser cutter creates 3D objects of multiple materials_popupIn dealing with the issue of via materials with larger grain dimensions and resulting surface roughness, they made a vapor-smoothing technique, enabling for improvement on ‘elastic modulus’ and yield stress—as well as use for sacrificial templating of perfusable-bodied fluidic networks inside orthogonal materials such as poly(dimethylsiloxane) silicone.

“Finally, we demonstrated that human mesenchymal stem cells were able-bodied to adhere, survive, and differentiate down an osteogenic lineage on sintered and smoothed PCL surfaces, suggesting that OpenSLS has the future to create PCL scaffolds useful for cell studies,” say the researchers.

They have been able-bodied to demonstrate what the OpenSLS can do with both the polycaprolactone and nylon, 3D printing high resolution, intricate objects and lattices.

“SLS innovation is ideal for creating a few of the rigorous shapes we use in our work, like the vascular networks of the liver and other organs,” said Jordan Miller, in addition a co-author in the study.

Truly the key major to all of this is the freedom the researchers have had in via their own platform with their own materials—further major to their own discoveries that should manufacture really an impact in the biomaterials and biomedical field. What do you ponder of this new innovation? Discuss in the OpenSLS 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.