Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Made to Take a Hit — 3D Printed Glucose Monitor Case from Stratasys and R&D Technologies

ST Medical Devices

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Ten-year-olds have a tendency to treat expensive objects just like they treat cheap toys; with a complete lack of respect for their ability to take a hit and keep working.

When it comes to Katherine Tokarski’s son, that rule held true, so Tokarski sought a 3D printed insurance policy of sorts.

rnd-main-logoTokarski’s son was born with Type 1 Diabetes, and that means he has to closely monitor his glucose levels with a device called a Dexcom G4. The system communicates with computers and mobile devices through the internet to let Mom monitor her boy’s glucose levels remotely.

But the system, for all its usefulness, did present a few problems in the real world. Tokarski found that securing the device and its connector cable to the mobile phone which pulls the system together was not a particularly simple process.

To solve the problem, she contacted R&D Technologies Inc., a Stratasys reseller. The Rhode Island-based 3D printing service bureau found a few 3D CAD files online which would essentiallyglucose-monitor-3d-printed-case combine the two devices, but it turned out that design was a bit off when it came to accurately slipping on her son Matt’s Dexcom monitor and phone.

So the engineering team at R&D Technologies took measurements of both devices, modified the existing found CAD file, and produced a new cover using the Stratasys Fortus 250mc 3D printer.

The team used ABSPlus — in orange, Matt’s favorite color — to provide the kind of durability needed to stand up to the stresses the case would likely suffer. Shawn Reilly, the Operations Manager at R&D Technologies, said the ability to customize the case was crucial.3d-printed-glucose-monitor-case

“As of now, the Dexcom mobile app called Nightscout can only run on an Android phone with at least Android v3.0.0 OS and OTG capability,” Reilly says. “As the device compatibility of the app expands, we are able to customize fit to an iPhone, for example, when the child’s device is inevitably upgraded.”

Reilly also says it was key to keep the files on hand, just in case, well…

“We’re talking about a 10-year-old boy. I have one at home too, and one of the things that 10-year-old boys do best is destroy things,” Reilly says. “Should he accidentally break the case, we can have one reprinted and overnighted to his home. Fortunately, because of the the robust quality of Stratasys ABSPlus, and our selection of the proper build orientation, our expectation is that this need will be unlikely.”

Now that 3D printing and design make it possible to quickly create customized items for nearly any application, this kind of adaptation will become more and more common. Have you ever made a custom 3D printed object to solve a problem in your life? Let us know in the 3D Printed Glucose Monitor Case forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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