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On the optimization of low-cost FDM 3D printers for accurate replication of patient-specific abdominal aortic aneurysm geometry.


ABSTRACT: Background:There is a potential for direct model manufacturing of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) using 3D printing technique for generating flexible semi-transparent prototypes. A patient-specific AAA model was manufactured using fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing technology. A flexible, semi-transparent thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), called Cheetah Water (produced by Ninjatek, USA), was used as the flexible, transparent material for model manufacture with a hydrophilic support structure 3D printed with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Printing parameters were investigated to evaluate their effect on 3D-printing precision and transparency of the final model. ISO standard tear resistance tests were carried out on Ninjatek Cheetah specimens for a comparison of tear strength with silicone rubbers. Results:It was found that an increase in printing speed decreased printing accuracy, whilst using an infill percentage of 100% and printing nozzle temperature of 255 °C produced the most transparent results. The model had fair transparency, allowing external inspection of model inserts such as stent grafts, and good flexibility with an overall discrepancy between CAD and physical model average wall thicknesses of 0.05 mm (2.5% thicker than the CAD model). The tear resistance test found Ninjatek Cheetah TPU to have an average tear resistance of 83 kN/m, higher than any of the silicone rubbers used in previous AAA model manufacture. The model had lower cost (4.50 GBP per model), shorter manufacturing time (25 h 3 min) and an acceptable level of accuracy (2.61% error) compared to other methods. Conclusions:It was concluded that the model would be of use in endovascular aneurysm repair planning and education, particularly for practicing placement of hooked or barbed stents, due to the model's balance of flexibility, transparency, robustness and cost-effectiveness.

SUBMITTER: Chung M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5954792 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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