Spine casting with 3D printing

Designed and developped in Hacedores Makerspace

Health & well-being Industry & innovation

The project consists on making a transparent solid spine for BBraun, a medical company who would like to exhibit the prosthesis they make for patients. For that purpose, Rafael Garcia created a manufacturing process that includes 3D printing to produce a silicon mould to build solid epoxy pieces of the vertebral column. He chose the 3D printing process as it is the cheapest and very fast way to help building mould of all the unique pieces that compose the human spine.

Contact

Technologies used

3D printing Casting & moulding

What’s the project story?

This was the second project I did for BBraun. Upon a recommendation, they first contacted me in 2014 for my competence in sculpture, as I am a sculptor and painter, to produce a model of a hip prosthesis. I did it with a classical sculpture approach but when, two years later, they offer me the spine project, I looked for a more effective way, both in terms of time and budget, to achieve it (Budget : 4500$USD). Finally, I have been attracted to 3D printing thanks to a discussion with a friend who through is medical profession have been told about the use of 3D printing for such project. And, by the internet I have found the Hacedores makerspaces.

How the lab was useful for your project?

First, I found there very friendly and opened people to teach me how to use a 3D printing. I was familiar with 3D modelling but not for the use of the machine at all. Then I have found there a place to work and use the 3D printer. For that I bought a membership of 6 months.

What’s the project’s greatest success so far?

The greatest success was that including 3D printing in the process worked so well that it enticed another company to do a second one.

What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?

If I have to change one thing, it would be the casted material. Instead of epoxy I would choose Acrylic whose melting point is lower and is easier to craft.

What’s your vision for the project & next steps?

The next steps will be to improve the manufacturing process

How can anyone interested can contribute to the project?

I would be glad to be in touch with someone who has a similar casting experience with 3D printing to exchange best practices.

Note of MakerTour explorers :

What is remarkable is that before entering the Hacedores makerspace, Rafael would never have thought how this project will change his way of working today. From now on, he integrates in his profession of sculptor, a very manual and highly concrete profession, much more modeling and 3D printing. He modestly dare entering an unknown place accepting to know nothing to finally modernize his job.

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