Friday, July 11, 2014

3D Printing Changing Lives, Contributing More Than Just Life-Size Selfies

It is clear that 3D Printing is changing the world we live in today, but none more than a 5 year old boy's in Barcelona, Spain who has truly experienced the benefits of 3D Printing, which goes far and beyond just printing trinkets and life-size selfies.

A 5 year old patient named Marc was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (The term neuro refers to nerves, while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or developing cells), a common childhood cancer that typically affects children 5 years and younger. Marc has undergone cancer treatment for four years to help control this aggressive disease. While treatment remained successful, a tumor in his stomach still remained. With two previous failed attempts to remove the tumor, it was deemed inaccessible and carried too much risk to safely operate.

Jaume Mora
Jaume Mora
Image Source:
"One of the main problems encountered by surgeons for the removal of neuroblastoma is that it is surrounded by blood vessels and arteries "and requires great precision to avoid damaging other parts of the body that would be incompatible with life," said Blackberry."

While hopes of removing the tumor seemed insurmountable, doctors of Sant Joan de Déu Hospital never gave up on Marc. With the help of Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), they were able to replicate a 3D model of the tumor and surrounding tissues. Utilizing two different types of materials, one for the organs / blood vessels and another translucent soft material for the tumor, doctors were able to rehearse the removal of the tumor with the highest level of precision and determine the best course of action to remove it while minimizing the risk of damaging the surrounding areas.

Sant Joan de Déu Hospital
The surgery ultimately was declared a success and the tumor was removed, Marc is expected to make a full recovery. Two more patients are now awaiting similar surgeries. This type of 3D modeling process is the first of it's kind for this purpose. This revolutionary new technology allows doctors to explore, rehearse complicated procedures and create a plan of action like never before without even making a single cut. This IS history in the making!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Heliolithography (HL) : A New Category of High-Resolution 3D Printing

On June 30th a new technology company named Orangemaker introduced it's new patent pending technology, Heliolithography (HL) in the form of the Helios One 3D Printer. So what is Heliolithography and how does it differ from FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and SL (Stereolithography) technologies that already exist?
Sometimes, to innovate forward,
you must change direction.

Heliolithography resembles Stereolithography, and it still uses UV light to solidify liquid resin into a solid. Heliolithography then takes it to a whole new level, by printing continuously from layer to layer, as opposed to having to stop between each layer. What? YES, finally the answer to the question we all have been asking "Why does it have to stop between each layer? It would save so much time!". While we have yet to see this printer in action in the flesh, we are hopeful that it will deliver the long awaited faster print times, a higher quality print and much needed reliability. It also claims to provide a wider variety of superior print materials to choose from.

3D Printing is continuing to make significant advancements and is constantly evolving, however it still has left a lot to be desired in terms of slow printing, low quality prints, and unreliable printing. The Orangemaker's new Helios™ One 3D Printer is designed to change all that. Their target audience is focused on the Prosumer or anyone interested in higher quality 3D Printing. The Helios One 3D Printer will hit desktops as soon as 2015.

"Quite simply, we’ve found a way to streamline efficiency, design, and material economy in 3D printing, a medium that has hitherto suffered from restrictions on variables such as size, speed, and availability of materials.
We’ve reached an ideal—greatly expanding functionality while achieving elegance and simplification through design and engineering.— Kurtis Dudley, Inventor