You Can Put Spares In Your Pocket!

By on March 18th, 2009 in blog

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New Scientist reports on a medical breakthrough using 3D printing: exact replicas of finger bones have been produced. Christian Weinand of Berne Switzerland has been testing a new technique in which a 3D model of a finger bone is fed into a 3D printer, and an exact duplicate is printed. By using a suitable print medium (in this case tricalcium phosphate and a type of polylactic acid – natural structural materials found in the human body”) the resulting artificial bone can be inserted into the body and take over for the failed bone. Weinand says:

In theory, you could do any bone. Now I can put spares in my pocket if I want.

You’re probably wondering exactly how you get a 3D model of a bone that requires replacement. If it’s being replaced, presumably it’s severely damaged, or even missing. The answer is straightforward – simply scan a model from its counterpart on the opposite hand! Obviously, this approach has some limitations, as there are singularly appearing bones, and what if both sides were damaged?

Via New Scientist

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By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

1 comment

  1. Re: the question about how to get the models of bones that have been damaged or lost.

    The answer is to back up your bones. Include a CT scan in your yearly medical checkup, compute 3d models from the data, put it on your thumb drive (har har) and keep *that* in your pocket.“ REL=”nofollow”>Here is a project where the images from a standard CT scan were stitched together into a movie, the data looks pretty clean. It looks like the 3d models would be pretty easy to extract.

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