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3D Printing - From Skin to Electronics...

Additive manufacturing technology continues to evolve and play an increasing role in creating products that would otherwise not be cost effective, and at times, impossible to produce.  For example, the French cosmetics firm L’Oréal  is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3D-print human skin for the purpose of safe product testing.  Because skin is a layered structure, it is well suited for 3D printing technology.

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine prints human cells in hydrogel-based scaffolds.  The lab-engineered organs are placed on a two inch chip and linked together with a blood substitute, which keeps the cells alive.

Organovo uses a method that allows for the direct assembly of 3D tissues without the need for a scaffold.  Last year, it announced that its 3D printed liver tissue was commercially available, although some bioengineer research scientists are skeptical about how “liver-like” the 3D printed liver structures are.

Printing of electronics is emerging as the next phase in 3D printing development, bringing the ability to produce 3D objects with wires and circuitry embedded within the structural material.  This allows designers to create products that are smaller, lighter, more efficient and more customized.  To learn more about 3D printing of electronics, refer to the article on the Advanced Manufacturing Insights website.

Additive manufacturing technology is an exciting, ever-changing technology.  To learn more, go to the Additive Manufacturing website.  If you would like assistance with manufacturing a 3D printed part, contact us at (815)578-8888 or go to our website and complete the Free 3D Printing request form to see if your project qualifies for free 3D printing services.


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