A brief history of 3D printing

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/the-evolution-of-3d-printing

A 3D printer used by a clinic in France to create skull and facial implants.

A brief history of 3D printing

On that evening, more than three decades ago, when he invented 3D printing, Chuck Hull called his wife.

She was already in her pyjamas, but he insisted that she drive to his lab to see the small, black plastic cup that he had just produced after 45 minutes of printing.

It was March 19, 1983. Hull was then an engineer working at a U.S. firm that coated furniture with a hard plastic veneer. As part of his work, he used photopolymers — acrylic-based liquids — that would solidify under ultraviolet light. Hull thought the same sort of process might be used to build a three-dimensional object from many thin layers of acrylic, hardened one after another, with targeted UV light from a laser beam.

Hull pursued his research on nights and weekends until finally sharing his eureka moment with his wife, Anntionette.

“I did it,” he told her simply.

Chuck Hull, inventor of the 3D printer

Hull took out a series of patents on his invention and went on to co-found a company, 3D Systems, that remains a leader in the field. Last year, the 75-year-old was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Hull’s invention launched a wave of innovation. Design engineers embraced 3D printers as the answer to their prayers: Instead of waiting weeks or months to have new parts produced, they could design them on computers and print prototypes the same day.

3D printers have since evolved and can now use all kinds of materials, including metals, ceramics, sugar, rubbers, plastics, chemicals, wax and living cells. It means designers can progress rapidly from concept to final product.

Advances in the printers’ speed, accuracy and versatility have made them attractive to researchers, profit-making firms and even do-it-yourselfers.

The cost of the machines has also dropped dramatically, which means it’s easy for home inventors to enter the field. Home Depot sells a desktop version for $1,699 while Amazon.com markets the DaVinci Junior 3D printer for $339.

The machines have been used to print shoes, jewellery, pizza, cakes, car parts, invisible braces, firearms, architectural models and fetal baby models (based on ultrasound images).

The wave of innovation triggered by the 3D printer is only now beginning to crest in the field of medicine. Researchers are racing to engineer implantable livers, kidneys and other body parts with the help of 3D printers.

In Canada, scientists are using 3D bioprinters as they work toward creating new limb joints made from a patient’s own tissue, and implantable skin for burn victims.

ottawacitizen.com

by Andrew Duffy | August 28, 2015 2:00 PM EDT

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3D printed prosthetics for Ugandan schoolchildren

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html

3D printed prosthetics get Ugandan schoolchildren back on their feet

Although we’ve heard numerous stories about how 3D printing has helped enable hundreds of those in need of prosthetic limbs, a majority of the cases have been located in the United States or the United Kingdom where 3D printers or 3D printing providers are becoming increasingly common and access to a 3D printer is getting easier than ever before.  While this is excellent news, there are still many world locations where affordable prosthetic devices – and even 3d printers in general – are needed and could be used perhaps even more than those located in more developed Western countries.

In the meantime – thankfully – various organizations and 3D printing providers have been picking up 3D printing jobs as needed to ensure that those who need the prosthetic devices the most are getting the proper care that they need.  More recently, the University of Toronto and charity Christian Blind Mission took it upon themselves to produce prostheses for a Ugandan schoolboy who had been in need of a prosthetic device for years.

The schoolboy, Jesse Ayebazibwe of Kisubi, Uganda, tragically had his right leg amputated after he was hit by a truck after walking home from school three years ago.  Since then, the nine-year-old has been maneuvering with the aid of crutches – however they have since made it difficult to play or move around.  “I liked playing like a normal kid before the accident,” he said.

Thanks to the support of a local orthopaedic technologist, Moses Kaweesa of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CoRSU) in Uganda, Ayebazibwe was able to use an infrared scanner and some 3D modeling software to create a prosthetic solution for the young boy before shipping the files to Canada to be 3D printed.

“The process is quite short, that’s the beauty of the 3D printers,” said Kaweesa.  “Jesse was here yesterday, today he’s being fitted.”

While Ayebazibwe previously wore a traditional-style prosthesis last year, his new 3D printed prosthesis is among the first in a trial that could see more 3D printed prosthetic device across Uganda for others in need – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Kaweesa.

Currently, the entire country of Uganda has just 12 trained prosthetic technicians for over 250,000 children who have lost limbs, which are often due to fires or congenital diseases.  At $12,000, a portable solution consisting of a laptop, a 3d scanner and a 3d printer is not cheap – however when considering the impact that a portable prosthetic device system could have on over 200,000 children in need – in northern Uganda alone, many people have lost limbs due to decades of war where chopping off limbs was a common reality.

“There’s no support from the government for disabled people … we have a disability department and a minister for disabled people, but they don’t do anything,” said Kaweesa.  “You can travel with your laptop and scanner.”

Upon receiving his 3D printed prosthetic, Ayebazibwe was clearly ecstatic.  “(It) felt good, like my normal leg,” he said. “I can do anything now — run and play football.”

The boy’s 53-year old grandmother, Florence Akoth, looks after him, even carrying him the two kilometers to school after his leg was crushed and his life shattered. She too is thrilled.

“Now he’s liked at school, plays, does work, collects firewood and water,” said Akoth.

3ders.org

by Simon | Jun 3, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html

First 3D printed prosthetic legs to Ugandans

The World’s First-Ever Fully Functional 3D Printed Leg Socket is Now Being Replicated in Uganda

http://goo.gl/p8N05t

Ruth Nakaye (right) is the first person in the world to receive a fully functional prosthetic leg with a socket created using 3D printing technology. The first step in the creation process involves scanning the residual limb, as Moses Kaweesa (left) is doing here.

Researchers provide world’s first functional 3D printed prosthetic legs to Ugandans.

Canadian researchers and a 3D printer are making medical history in Uganda.

The Canadian team from the University of Toronto recently helped a young Ugandan woman walk with the world’s first functional 3D-printedprosthetic leg socket, the critical customized element that is the main component of an artificial limb.

“It makes me feel proud … it’s prestigious,” says Ruth Nakaye, the 20-year-old from Kampala who received the team’s first prosthesis.

During a five-day visit to Kampala in January, the researchers used a 3D printer to make sockets, the customized part of a prosthesis that attaches to an individual’s body and forms to the thigh for those with amputations below the knee. They then connected the sockets to the standard pylons and feet that the Red Cross provides for prosthetics in developing countries to complete the replacement limbs.

Matt Ratto

MattRatto, a Toronto professor and principal investigator for the project, says he believes this combination is the world’s first3D-printedleg to be used outside laboratories and test environments.

The Canadian researchers are working with Christian Blind Mission Canada (CBM) and Ugandan prosthetists to make limb replacements more affordable and help alleviate the shortage of technicians in developing countries.

3D printing technology has a number of benefits, the team says. It makes the production of prosthetic limbs more efficient, saving time and money for the patient, which is particularly important in places like Uganda where many people have very limited incomes.

It also allows the small number of Ugandan prosthetists to handle more cases than they could with the time-consuming manual plaster method, says Ratto.

Affordable prostheses

Nakaye, who was born without her full left leg, says she was excited to wear her new 3D-printed prosthesis home. Prosthetics have allowed her to play sports and attend school. Nakaye missed two years of primary education because she lacked mobility until a charity paid for her first artificial limb, she says.

3D printer

Unfortunately, Nakaye’s story is not uncommon in her country.

The majority of those with physical disabilities can’t accessprosthetics because of the cost, saysDolorenceWere, executive director of the Uganda Society for Disabled Children.

It’s difficult for many Ugandans – 38 per cent of whom live on less than $1.25 US a day – to pay at least $300, excluding hospital fees and travel expenses, for a prosthesis, says Mitchell Wilkie, CBM’s director of international programs.

Children also grow an average of 2 centimetres a year, and generally need a new prosthesis every six months or so. Patients and their family often need to spend a week at a hospital and make recurrent visits to get fitted for a new prosthesis. But in Uganda, where 86 per cent of the population survives on subsistence farming, many locals can’t afford to pay for prostheses or take time away from their fields, says Wilkie.

Roseline Cheptoo, 4, also received a 3D-printed prosthesis from the Canadian researchers. It was her third week-long visit for prosthetic fittings, and her family travelled more than seven hours from Amudatdistrict in northern Uganda to reach the hospital in the capital city.

“Our parents don’t have jobs – they grow corn and peanuts and sell any surplus at markets,” says her brother, Sailas Akodumoi, 19. “I’m not sure how my family will afford to pay for future prosthetic legs after the charity ends her sponsorship this year.”

Skills shortage

The main issue for Ugandans, however, isn’t the cost of prosthetics or hospital services, Ratto says. It’s access to skilled people who can fit them.

Moses Kaweesa

“You could make [prosthetics ]

zero dollars and you’d still have the same issue; there are too few prosthetic technicians in developing countries.”

Studying to become an accredited prosthetist or orthopedic technologist who can make prostheticstakes at least three years, says MosesKaweesa, who studied the skill at Makerere University in Kampala.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in the developing world, there’s a shortfall of 40,000 prosthetic technicians. It adds that it would take 50 years to train just another 18,000, according to a 2003 study.

There are approximately 12 prosthetic technicians in Uganda, according to CBM. And there are about 10 facilities where prosthetics can be made in the country, adds Malcolm Simpson, chief executive officer of the project’s partner hospital.

This is where 3D printers could help.

Currently, it takes three to six days to use plaster to create a negative cast of a residual limb, fill it and mould a prosthesis, explains AbdullahIssa, a local prosthetist. Adjustments are often needed, meaning more manual work.

Roseline Cheptoo

“The 3D technology we’ve introduced in Uganda cuts this work down to as little as six hours,” saysRatto.

It takes just a few minutes to do a 3D scan of a residual limb and use software to shape the prosthesis. Then the printer takes a few hours to produce the customized socket from the scan.

The time saved compared to traditional methods of producing a socket will allow prosthetiststo see five to six times more patients a week,Ratto says.

It also adds precision, says Issa, who has been working with the technology since January. “You can make exact adjustments, rather than guessing like we do with the manual method.”

The time-saving technology is also affordable enough that it can be used by facilities in developing countries.

“The consumer-grade 3D printers that we’re using cost $2,000 and $6,000 – and the software, MeshMixer, is free,” explains Ratto.

The Ugandan project will continue over the next six months as the Toronto researchers study the comfort and durability of the 3D-printedsockets, he says.

And he adds that the project should benefit patients in Canada as well.

“It isn’t so much a developed-world technology being redeployed to a developing world context, it’s exactly the reverse,” says Ratto. “Everything we’re learning through this project can be used in developed countries to help produce prosthetics more efficiently and affordably for Canadians too, and that’s what’s interesting.”

CBC.CA
by Julia Burpee, CBC News | Feb 16, 2015 5:00 AM ET