Last week we wrapped up Product Development in the Biomedical Industry. Although not technically part of the syllabus, our class got to take part in a 3D Print workshop during this course.
3D printing has been hailed as a ‘manufacturing revolution’ with ‘infinite possibilities’. Perfect topic for our class of bioentrepreneurs to use our claimed entrepreneurial mindset and learn about ways to use this technology and information to our advantage.
What is 3D Printing
3D printing is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. I admit I knew nothing about the mechanics before this workshop. But we were quickly shown how an almost infinite amount of shapes can be grown layer by layer, just by using a printer.
Some of my favourite uses of 3D printing include the rebuilding of ancient artefacts destroyed by war and the reconstruction of damaged evidence from crime scenes. If you’re a selfie fanatic, you can one up Instagram and have a scale model of yourself printed in your favourite costume….and there are several companies exploring 3D printing of actual full-size buildings.
Among the many promises of 3D printing, complexity in manufacturing is free so a complex item has the same time and cost implications as a simple one. 3D Printed objects have zero lead time so it’s a great option for building a low cost prototype. For some complicated set ups, objects can be printed as one piece with no assembly required therefore there is less waste by-product.
Unfourtuntatly our workshop scope did not stretch to include producing buildings! But we got to design our own key rings. I made mine as a gift, and although it looked quite simple, I guarantee it’s the most technologically advanced gift they have ever received 🙂
First we made the virtual design using the 3D modelling application TinkerCad to make a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file. If you want to try it out, there are lots of free downloadable programmes for free online.
For anyone who excels, I’ve heard a rumour UBE is investing in some 3D Printers this year, so new students could have the opportunity to print their own prototypes right here at KI!
3D Printing in Life Sciences
The promise of 3D printing is reflected in the life science industry. 3D printing of body parts is expected to revolutionize all aspects of medicine. There has already been success in producing heart valves, skin grafts and exoskeleton casts. The process is fast-changing and still in it’s early days but the concept of 3D printing has endless potential for healthcare and real possibilities for a new generation of Bioentrepreneurs.
Take Care x
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