FRESH 3D Bioprinting and Open Source Hardware
Our research group develops soft material 3D printers for a wide range of applications. We primarily work with RepRap derived hardware platforms and use a variety of open-source software tools in our work flow.
Recently, a team led by graduate student TJ Hinton developed and new 3D bioprinting technique termed freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels (FRESH). The FRESH printing technique prints soft materials within a thermo-reversible support gel, and the research paper is available via open access from the journal Science Advances. Read the paper.
The 3D bioprinter used in these studies is based on modified MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. We designed a custom syringe pump extruder that mounts on the 3D printer in place of the original thermoplastic extruder. The designs for the syringe pump extruder have been released under an open-source license.
Build your own 3D soft material printer
You can easily build your won 3D bioprinter by modifying an existing desktop thermoplastic 3D printer. Our recent publication in HardwareX provides detailed instructions to do this using our Large Volume Extruder (LVE). The LVE uses a “Bowden-style” extruder where the 60 mL syringe that holds your print material is connected via a tube to a needle that mounts to the XY carriage.