3D Printing ProcessesBioprinting

BioAssemblyBot system can now 3D bioprint onto complex contoured surfaces

Newly enhanced scanning capabilities and associated workflows are key in future organ bioprinting

3D bioprinting technology platforms typically use gantry axes (X, Y, and Z) as their method of motion control. This enables additive manufacturing, a layer by layer approach to 3D printing, where new constructs are fabricated from the bottom-up in the Z direction. However, to fabricate complex biological constructs and eventually larger organ systems, more freedom of movement is required to meet all fabrication tasks.

The BioAssemblyBot platform, with its 6-axis robotic arm at the center of the platform, has the needed flexibility in print-path motion and directional access; with the added ability to execute a print task from a variety of angles. Further enabling such a workflow, the system visualizes surface features of complex objects within the fabrication envelope, incorporating such features in the 3D digital model.

Through unique toolsets that are included with the BioAssemblyBot, as well as a built-in workflow within the TSIM software program, this workflow has now been achieved.

bioprint contour surface

The Process

The TSIM design software, when coupled with a BioAssemblyBot, facilitates the capture of high-resolution surface data from objects placed on the BioAssemblyBot printing surface. Utilizing a laser measurement sensor with submillimeter repeatable accuracy, the surface height is measured across a chosen area and then saved on a local storage device in a simple point cloud format. Any network connected PC running the TSIM design software can request the point cloud data from the BioAssemblyBot.

After receiving the point cloud, TSIM automatically filters the data and reconstructs the surface as a triangulated mesh within the TSIM solid modeling environment. In this form, the surface can be used as a projection target for custom non-planar printing tool paths enabled by the BioAssemblyBot six-axis robotic manipulator. They’re also highly useful as a visual reference for a variety of bioprinting design and assembly tasks.

Print it to my heart

In this example, a patch is being printed onto the complex surface of a printed 3D model of a heart, generated from patient data.

The first step of this workflow includes the utilization of the BioAssemblyBot scanning tool to scan the surface of the object and import that data into the TSIM® Software Program. In this example, a section of the surface of the heart is the focus of the scan area. At this point, using the sketching tools within the TSIM software program, two example patterns are created de novo.

After the sketch is completed, the 3D model is generated and ready to be placed on the appropriate location on the model. The appropriate material is assigned to the design which then instructs the system on how to complete the print the task.

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Davide Sher

Over the last decade Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is a senior analyst for US-based firm SmarTech Publishing focusing on the additive manufacturing industry. He founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. which specialises in media and communications services for the 3DP and AM industry, through which he runs 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as two editorial websites, 3D Printing Media Network and Il Replicatore.

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