3D Printing News Briefs, March 16, 2024: Partnerships, Affordable Bioprinter, & More


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We’re starting with dental 3D printing news today, and then moving on to some new partnerships. Then it’s on to some interesting university research about 3D printing plant-based pharmaceuticals, but without plants, and then 3D printed nanocellulose upscaled for applications in green architecture.

Nexa3D Adds Three Dental Resins & Two North American Dental Partners

Ultrafast 3D printing company Nexa3D has added three new resins to its growing range of validated dental materials, all from dental industry leader Pac-Dent, Inc. The first is the Class II Rodin Denture Base 2.0, a biocompatible material that helps create dentures with more stability, flexibility, accuracy, and gingival shades. Then there’s Rodin Surgical Guide 2.0, which is used to print both full-arch and quadrant guides with the highest dimensional stability and shatter resistance. The material has superior strength, and is also compatible with autoclave sterilization. Finally, Rodin Splint 2.0 offers maximum strength, stability, aesthetics, and wear resistance for 3D printed night guards, retainers, splints, and snoring devices. Print profiles for Nexa3D’s XiP printers are now available.

The company is also expanding its dental presence in North America, accessibility to ultrafast printing, by introducing two new dental reseller partners there. CAD-Ray, based in Las Vegas, is a premier distribution and education company with plenty of experience in digital dentistry. The company specializes in 3D printing, CAD/CAM, CT technologies, guided implantology, and digital imaging. The other new member of Nexa3D’s reseller network is Harris Discount Dental Supply, a Minnesota-headquartered Warner Tech-care company. Harris Discount works to deliver quality products at affordable prices, which matches Nexa3D’s LSPc technology.

3DPrinterOS & Polymaker Partner to Drive 3D Printing at Scale

Polymaker, which specializes in the production of high-quality 3D printing materials, and leading cloud-based 3D printing management platform 3DPrinterOS have announced a strategic partnership to make high-quality 3D printing more affordable and accessible to a wider audience. 3DPrinterOS has over 250,000 users, is implemented in more than 120 countries, and facilitated the production of over 4 million parts so far. Through this new partnership, 3DPrinterOS customers can get up to a 30% discount on Polymaker’s materials, which will improve its value proposition with more affordable materials, and get Polymaker’s diverse range of products into more printers around the world.

“We are excited to collaborate with Polymaker to reduce the cost of 3D printing at scale! 3DPrinterOS’s end-to-end 3D printer management platform significantly reduces the cost of 3D printing on a large scale by facilitating easy connections between the most users and printers,” said John Dogru, Founder of 3DPrinterOS. “Now, with our partnership with Polymaker, all our customers can effortlessly renew and refill filament automatically at wholesale pricing!”

Meltio & Prototyping Solutions Announce Strategic Alliance

Wire laser metal deposition (LMD) company Meltio announced a new partnership with Prototyping Solutions, which provides 3D printing services and technologies, and is now an authorized Meltio partner. Meltio’s versatile LMD technology creates near-net shapes from CAD data, and can process a wide range of metal materials. It will be integrated into Prototyping Solutions’ portfolio so the company can offer Meltio’s metal solutions to its customers. Prototyping Solutions already has a strong market presence, and now that it will be providing support and services for Meltio’s technology, companies in aerospace, education, automotive, and other industries can enjoy more flexibility and efficiency in metal AM.

“Partnering with Meltio marks a significant milestone in our mission to deliver the most advanced 3D printing solutions to our customers. Meltio’s innovative technology complements our existing offerings and empowers our clients to push the boundaries of what’s possible in additive manufacturing,” said Eddie Hanebuth, Business Development Manager of Prototyping Solutions.

Undergrads Develop Affordable Bioprinter to Replicate Plant Chemicals

The bioprinted bacteria created by Rochester undergraduates contains green fluorescent proteins that glow under ultraviolet light. Credit: University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster

Tens of thousands of flowering plants are used in medicinal applications, but many pharmaceuticals in the U.S. need imported raw plant materials, and there are many threats to these plant species, such as climate change. Ten University of Rochester undergraduate students, making up Team RoSynth, developed an affordable 3D bioprinter to more efficiently replicate the chemicals found in plants and optimize production of plant-derived drugs. Their research won Best Biomanufacturing Project and Best Hardware in the 2023 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) student competition.

Their open-source bioprinter, which was engineered for less than $500, produces hydrogels, which can hold and release biological molecules. Their system is “ingenious” because it prints genetically engineered bacteria and yeast in adjacent hydrogels, then submerged in a liquid nutrient to make the final product. This keeps the microbes separated, but the molecules they produce can be easily exchanged, which enables the synthetic creation of plant-based chemicals. The team biochemically synthesized rosmarinic acid (RA) as a test case, but specific drugs that could benefit from their work in the future include aspirin, which is derived from the bark of willow trees.

3D Printed Nanocellulose & Algae Material for Greener Architecture

The construction industry consumes 50% of the world’s fossil resources, generates 40% of its waste, and causes 39% of global carbon dioxide emissions. A study out of Chalmers University of Technology and the Wallenberg Wood Science Center details a hydrogel made of 3D printed nanocellulose and algae that’s been tested for use as a greener, more sustainable material for architectural components. By adding alginate to nanocellulose fibers and water, the researchers were able to produce a 3D printable material. They also designed multiple toolpaths for robotic 3D printing to see how the material would behave when dried in different patterns and shapes. These could be used in architectural standalone components like wall panel systems and lightweight room dividers, and existing building components, including tiles for cladding walls and acoustic elements for damping sound.

Malgorzata Zboinska, lead author of the study from Chalmers University of Technology, said, “For the first time we have explored an architectural application of nanocellulose hydrogel. Specifically, we provided the so far missing knowledge on its design-related features, and showcased, with the help of our samples and prototypes, the tuneability of these features through custom digital design and robotic 3D printing.

“The nanocellulose used in this study can be acquired from forestry, agriculture, paper mills and straw residues from agriculture. It is a very abundant material in that sense.”

To learn more about this work, you can read the published study here.

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