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3D Printing Titanium Medical Implants on the DMP Flex 100

Here are a couple of titanium spinal cage implants 3D printed on the 3D Systems DMP Flex 100.

Notice the level of detail. This is possible because the DMP Flex 100 is able to lay down metal powder 10 microns thick. To put that into perspective, the average width of a human hair is 50 microns. This means if you split a human hair in to 5 strands, the DMP Flex 100 is able to lay down metal powder one strand at a time and then use a laser to essentially melt that layer and fuse it with the layer under it. This should give you a good idea of how precise this 3D printer is.

Another reason for this insane level of detail is the way the DMP Flex 100 compacts the powder. Instead of using a wiper blade like most other metal 3D printers, it uses a patented method which employes a counter-rotating roller. By counter-rotating I mean the roller doesn’t roll over the powder to compact it like a rolling pin could roller over dough to flatten it. Instead it rotates in the opposite direction as it moves forward thereby compacting the powder even more. This results in a very compact and precise layer of powder which the laser can then work upon. This superior compaction allows the 3D print to print parts which have very fine wall thicknesses as you can see in the pictures above.

This ability lends itself very well to 3D printing intricate designs of implants to lightweight the implants, but more importantly, for better osteo-integration. Basically, the bone grows into the titanium implant and organically locks itself into it, just like how a tree grows its roots into the soil and anchors itself into the ground. The more the bone grows into the implant the stronger the bond will be between the bone and the implant. This will lead to a significant reduction in the risk of implant failure and a repeat surgery.

Our flagship metal 3D printer for printing titanium implants continues to be the DMP Flex 350. With a build volume of 275 x 275 x 420 mm, it’s designed for large scale manufacturing of medical implants. 3D Systems has printed more than a million titanium implants till date, not counting the implants printed by our customers.

Build platform of the DMP Flex 350

But now the ability of the DMP Flex 100 to print in titanium opens up opportunities for customers to get into titanium medical implant production at a more economical price point. With a build volume of 100 x 100 x 90 mm, the size is just right for printing small sized implants like the spinal cages in the images above.

Please contact me if you want to lean more about what the DMP Flex 100 can do for you or share this with someone who you think may be interested.