Bioprinting Tool Enables Fabrication of Cylindrical Implants

A rotating build platform developed for a bioprinting device can produce tubular devices to be used in vascular, digestive and respiratory channels. The breakthrough technology enables the creation of thin-walled cylindrical devices with complex, structured walls, which has been challenging to accomplish with regenerative materials until now, according to Desktop Health, the medical 3D printing brand of Desktop Metal Inc. 

The PrintRoll platform is attached to the 3D Bioplotter’s modular build plate, a 3D printer based on extrusion that can process liquids and melts as well as pastes, gels and other materials including cells. The PrintRoll is equipped with a motorized rotating mandrel and a spring loaded drum. Rotating speed is tightly controlled by the 3D-Bioplotter’s software.

PrintRoll rotates the tool, and the printhead slides back and forth to deposit the material onto the surface. After the material is deposited, the medical-grade polycaprolactone, which is used to make many FDA-cleared devices and implants, hardens on the drum.

Desktop Health explains in a press release that bioprinting is a process where users create a scaffold or structure in a biocompatible stiff or flexible material. The scaffold or structure is intended to integrate and repair cells in the body.

The PrintRoll comes with a 10-mm-diameter drum – 20- and 40-mm sizes are also available – designed to accommodate the development of devices for a variety of human channels, which vary based on age and gender. The human body contains multitudes — thousands of miles of channels, according to Desktop Health! The standard diameters are generally the same as those of the femoral arterial (10mm), the trachea, (10-20mm), the fallopian tubes (5-15mm), the aorta, (25mm), the esophagus, (30mm), and the range of intestinal segments between 40-100mm. 

Printing hollow cylindrical structures of up to 140mm length is possible, depending on which printhead you use. Custom sizes are also available.

“With the PrintRoll, materials are patterned directly on top of a substrate that rolls as the printhead also moves, supporting the deposited layers and, therefore, expanding the palette of materials that can be 3D printed into these important structures,” said Nicole Black, PhD, VP of Biomaterials and Innovation at Desktop Health. “Following printing, devices can be removed from the PrintRoll, leaving high-resolution and reproducible parts that customers have come to expect from the 3D-Bioplotter.”

According to the company, it is the Cadillac bioprinter. It extrudes material through a needle-tip on a Swiss 3-axis gantry that has temperature, design, and accuracy controls. Eight printheads are available with reportedly the widest range of temperatures in bioprinting, from 2° to 500°C (35.6° to 932°F), enabling the production of complex, multi-material medical parts.

The PrintRoll is being developed since 2019 in collaboration with Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. It’s a public research institution in Mainz.

PrintRoll, which is compatible to the 4th generation 3D Bioplotter models is now available for pre-order. Delivery is expected in the Fourth Quarter. Contact Desktop Health Learn more.