Everyone desires a set of straight, beautiful, white teeth but how many people who have undergone the process to get there know that inside their mouth are some of the first products of a new industrial revolution? You could be flashing a 3D printed smile without even knowing it.
According to the April 30, 2016 issue of The Economist, "tens of millions of dental crowns, bridges and orthodontic braces have now been produced with the help of additive manufacturing, popularly known as 3D printing."
The once common thought of a hobbyist printing off small plastic trinkets at home is being replaced by an industrial revolution. A projected $5,200,000,000 revolution where the manufacturing machines can cost up to $1,000,000.
For decades dentist have relied upon a process called "investment casting". This involves creating an individual model of a person's tooth, often in was, enclosing it in a ceramic casing, melting out the wax and then pouring molten metal into the cavity left behind. When the cast is split open, the new metal tooth is removed. It is fiddly, labor-intensive and not always accurate.
Things are done differently with available 3D printers. The dentist can now take a 3D scan of the patients teeth. Digitally send the scan into a 3D manufacturing company like Renishaw, a British engineering company. They have a plant that is equipped with 3D printers. Each printer produces a batch of more than 200 dental crowns and bridges.
The machines use a laser to steadily melt succesive layers of a cobalt-chrome alloy powder into the required shapes. The process can take either to ten hours but the printers run unattended and make each individual tooth to a design that is unique to every patient. Once complete, the parts are shipped to dental laboratories where craftsmen add a layer porcelain. Some researchers are now working on 3D printing the porcelain, too.
Formlabs has developed a Class 1 biocompatible Dental resin for creating precise surgical guides and similar applications. Tuned for accuracy and precision, the resin is designed to directly print surgical and pilot drill guides.
Portions of this post reference The Economist | April 30, 2016 issue
BigRep is a full- scale FFF 3D printer for studio and industrial use.
Conventional 3D printers can usually only produce hand-sized objects. BigRep printers can create objects in full-scale format, opening the imagination to yet unfathomed application areas.
With a printing volume of over one cubic meter its possible to produce prototypes and models on a 1:1 scale, or create final products such as designer furniture, directly with the 3D printing method.
Founded in 2014, BigRep is constructed to feel at home anywhere, in rugged work environments, such as workshops or construction zones, in tidy offices or studios.
BigRep aluminum frame is just over five feet in every dimension and the build area is a robust 45X39X47 inches.
Technically, BigRep compares favorably to more modestly sized FFF printers like the Makerbot. BigRep features 100 micron layer thickness, the ability to print PLA, ABS and multiple colors with a dual-extruder print head.
BigRep, which has a build volume of 45ft cubed, about 27 times that of a typical Makerbot Replicator, retails for $39,000 which is outside the price range of most hobbyists.
Constructed with a full aluminum frame, incorporating CNC components to provide strength and robustness. Its dual extruders can print PLA, ABS, PVA, HDPE, PC, Nylon, TPE, Laywood and Laybrick. Despite its giant size, there is no compromise in print quality.
Founder Grace Choi, a Harvard Business School graduate, developed a miniature 3D printer that combines ink with a variety of substrates to create any type of makeup.
Mink let's users choose any color using simple software and print that color into blush, eye shadow, lip gloss or many other types of makeup. With consumers increasingly focused on instant gratification, DIY, budget friendly solutions. Mink looks to carve a unique niche out of an extremely competitive market.
With a price of $295.00, Mink could be a hit with the 13-21 female demographic.
Optimized for performance and portability, the MINK digital Pen let's you create wherever and whenever. Made for engineered, aluminum alloy and stainless steel for maximum durability and performance.