3D Printing At 100C

Normally, 3D printing with filament takes temperatures of around 200 °C. However, there are some crafting plastics that melt in hot water at 60 °C. You can get spools of similar plastic that prints at very low temperatures, and some 3D printing pens use it. [Lost in Tech] picked up a spool of the stuff meant for medical printing and found that printing with it was a challenge. You can watch a video of the results below.

The first problem is that most printers don’t want to extrude at low temperatures. You can override this or, if you want to print with this plastic — PCL — you can rebuild the printer firmware. He never got bridges to work very well, but some prints came out reasonably well.

Of course, you might wonder why you would care about this kind of plastic. For one thing, it’s apparently safe to work with. If you were printing with students, too, you might be interested in a lower printer temperature. However, it didn’t look like the results were that good. However, it makes you wonder what kinds of filament you could use with a little work that might have some benefit.

The last time we heard about this stuff, someone was printing bones with it. We are always on the lookout for oddball filament to play with.

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3D Printing Bone

What do you print with your 3D printer? Key chains? More printer parts (our favorite)? Enclosures for PC boards? At Johns Hopkins, they want to print bones. Not Halloween skeletons, either. Actual bones for use in bodies.

According to Johns Hopkins, over 200,000 people a year need head or face bone replacements due to birth defects, trauma, or surgery. Traditionally, surgeons cut part of your leg bone that doesn’t bear much weight out and shape it to meet the patient’s need. However, this has a few problems. The cut in the leg isn’t pleasant. In addition, it is difficult to create subtle curved shapes for a face out of a relatively straight leg bone.

This is an obvious application for 3D printing if you could find a suitable material to produce faux bones. The FDA allows polycaprolactate (PCL) plastic for other clinical uses and it is attractive because it has a relatively low melting point. That’s important because mixing in biological additives is difficult to do at high temperatures.

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