At Design Academy Eindhoven we teach our students also how to take care of the tools they use. As a designer, you need good working tools to make your prototypes and end products. Some designers go even further and invent their own tools for a certain production process, like for example Dirk van der Kooij, who created a 3D printing machine from an automotive robotic arm for his 3D printed chairs and tables. I see a strong resemblance in the medical field, special tools are designed and 3D printed for very specific surgical procedures. Thanks to AM surgeons can help patients better with even a shorter time of recovery. Here are some amazing examples of made-of-use surgical tools:
Dana Piasecki of DanaMed has developed a surgical tool for repairing ligaments. Together with Stratasys the tool, called Pathfinder, is additively manufactured using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). 3D printing the tool cuts manufacturing costs by 97% as well as allowed the design and production of a biocompatible device that enables surgeons to better reconstruct a torn ACL.
Here is the iTotal kit pre-sterilized and disposable custom instruments developed by ConforMIS, a medical technology company. Their technology platform called iFit uses data from CT scans in order to 3D print joint replacement implants according to the needs, size and shape of each patient’s body.
Smaller is often better – The submillimeter forceps (below and up top) are a product of Microfabrica in collaboration with US Endoscopy, allowing for surgical procedures to be more precise and less invasive. Additive manufacturing enables them to print intricate complex geometries with multiple parts in biocompatible materials.
Ancillary tools 3D printed in Nylon (SLS) give implants the best position during a surgery. The tools which are each suited for a particular individual can be printed simultaneously, saving time and energy while improving manufacturing efficiency.
The DragonFlex forceps were designed to answer the shortcomings of the laparoscopic grasping forceps such as cable fatigue, and limited maneuverability. The BioMechanical Engineering department at TU Delft managed to simplify and enhance the tool and it’s capabilities with 3D printing.
Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your own 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.