PULLMAN, Wash., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've optimized a 3-D printer to create a bone-like material that can be used for orthopedic and dental work.
Washington State University researchers said they used a ProMetal 3D printer with an inkjet that sprays a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers about half the width of a human hair. The printer creates a channeled cylinder the size of a pencil eraser that can act as a scaffold for actual bone to grow on.
Susmita Bose, a professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said it's possible doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years.
"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," Bose said Wednesday in a release.
The findings are published in the journal Dental Materials.