We’ve learned that 3D printer manufacturer Structo has struck a deal to provide advanced materials for their equipment.
If you haven’t heard of Structo, they are a Singapore-based manufacturer of 3D printers specifically for the dental market. With offices in California and Canada, they provide solutions for both dental practices and dental labs.
The foundation for their technology is the Velox system, which has an interesting feature, something they call “all in one” 3D printing.
What this really means is that the Velox, a resin 3D printer, includes not only the 3D printing function but also the washing and cleaning cycles, all integrated together in the same machine.
How does it work? You can see an animation in this video:
Integrated 3D Printing
Basically the device rotates a series of stations under the build platform. The first station is used to load the print material into the device. Structo provides resins in “pods” that are easily handled by dental technicians, who don’t have to do any measuring or monitoring of material quantities. This is a very good idea that allows much wider use of the machine with limited training.
The next station performs the actual 3D printing, which uses their “MSLA” 3D printing process. The “M” stands for “masked”. It appears they have a light array that selectively solidifies designated pixels of liquid photopolymer on each layer.
Two more stations provide washing functions. This is quite interesting, because normally resin prints are washed once in IPA or equivalent. In the Velox system two separate washes are performed. I’m not quite sure why, but I suspect the second station is also IPA to perform a final cleaning. The first wash station would absorb the bulk of the stray liquid resin residue, and the second would perfectly clean the remainder.
A final station involves curing the prints with extra UV light.
The device handles all the stages of 3D printing within the same frame, something I have not seen other manufacturers produce. That said, both Formlabs and Carbon are working on robotic array solutions that move completed print trays between stations. However, the Structo solution is entirely within one frame and thus suitable for “drop in” installation at a dental site.
Structo Advanced Materials
Structo announced a new partnership with Germany-based Pro3Dure, a manufacturer of advanced resins for both dental and audiology applications. Currently, Structo offers materials specifically designed for orthodontics, impression trays and surgical guides.
The arrangement with Pro3Dure will provide Structo clients with access to, presumably, all of Pro3Dure’s dental resins, which include some specifically designed for functions not currently served by Structo’s materials. These include X-ray, temporaries, casting and other dental procedures that I really don’t understand. Obviously this is a very good arrangement for the two companies, and for their dental clients, too.
I’ve always said that success in 3D printing is due to building the optimal combination of hardware, materials, software and process. And it seems that Structo is doing that very well.