Manufacturing practical items for the lab has never been so easy thanks to cutting-edge 3D printing technology and the creativity of our innovative engineers. 3D printing is now being used for almost anything you can think of across many industries.

What makes the 3D printers at the Bionics Institute so unique is that they have been completely customised by our engineers, to create any tools or components needed for projects the team may be working on. The 3D printers are used for creating small, customised and one-off tools for our researchers and clinicians. They’re also used to help develop our new electrodes.

Through an iterative process, designs can be printed and assessed, with changes made and then printed again, greatly reducing the turnaround time compared to traditional methods. The printing process can take as little as 10 minutes and is also surprisingly quiet as a new product is created layer by layer using our custom-mixed resins.

Purchasing new equipment often comes as a result of donations from Trusts and Foundations as well as from generous donations from the wider community. Funding like this is critical to provide equipment needed for all projects now and in the future to allow our pioneering technology to continue.

Our R&D designer, Ross Thomas (pictured below), says working with the 3D printers streamlines our research. “It’s really exciting working with the customised printers at the Institute. The future potential for 3D printing in medical research is limitless and I am always in awe watching it quickly turn my CAD design into a tangible item used in surgery or the lab.”