Although industry professionals consider it as old technology, 3D printing is slowly gaining recognition from the public in light of new developments that have made 3D printers more affordable in recent years. These printers use powder, resin, polymers or other materials instead of ink to create a tangible object from a 3D image by piling the materials layer by layer and solidifying it. As the printers have become more accessible, companies like Objex Unlimited began specializing in 3D printing and model making in Mississauga and other places.
Because of the physical accuracy of the prototype, various industries have used these printers to aid in their research and to improve the design of their product. Mount Sinai’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Musculoskeletal Research scientists, for example, are making use of the technology to create joints from the patient’s own tissue as a solution to issues with replacement parts:
In biomedicine, 3D printing can help generate a part of the human body that is an accurate replicate of a patient’s own structure…
“Now, with 3D printing, we can tailor precisely the implant to the missing structure in a patient’s body. This work is a shining example of personalized medicine, because the tissues that comprise these joints are those of the exact patient who will receive the replacement,” [Dr. Rita Kandel] adds.
Having the option to customize an object according to computer specifications has made the technology useful for specialized goods. Apart from medical institutions, architectural firms can also benefit significantly from this technology. Because they handle several projects from different clients, making a scaled diorama for each building will be time consuming and will affect their professionalism in terms of presentation.
Other than customizing biomedical body parts, the technology is of great use in creating architectural models in Toronto, Mississauga, and other areas, as well. This allows clients to view the tangible rendered building directly translated – or printed – from a computer-aided design. As a result, architects save on time and expenses by having their clients have a concrete representation of their final perspective.
Not only does 3D printing technology streamline business processes, but it has the capacity to contribute to groundbreaking scientific discoveries, as well. It helps enhance the presentation of new products or concepts, and, as with the Mount Sinai Hospital’s study, can improve the quality of life.
(Info from Printing new joints with a 3D printer: advancing regenerative medicine for Canadians, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute)