3D printer manufacturer Objet has joined dental scanning provider 3Shape to create an integrated workflow solution specifically for dental restorations. The solution links 3D models produced by 3Shape's dentist-focused scanning equipment and software directly into Objet's Eden 3D printers. According to Avi Cohen, Head of Medical Solutions at Objet Geometries, the solution:
includes special optimizations to insure that components designed in 3Shapes’s CAD software will always print reliably and accurately using Objet’s additive manufacturing methods and techniques.
The solution involves linking three stages:
- 3D scanning of impressions and CAD-Design using 3Shape Dental System
- CAM preparation with 3Shape CAMbridge
- Final manufacturing and production on Objet Eden 3D Printers
This integrated solution reveals one of the problems with 3D printing today: a 3D printer by itself is not particularly thrilling, but the magic occurs when you link it with interesting sources of data and models. Typically the linking process is awkward and achievable only by techies, but solutions such as this from Objet remove that barrier and ensure the technology will be used by a wider audience.
The new system will greatly increase the speed of restoration operations and perhaps be more cost efficient as well.
Eventually we'll see what Objet calls "Full Digital Dental Labs", where the entire process becomes digitized. The old days of waiting for a week or more for an external service to produce restorations will gradually fade away.