Milan — Silicones Europe (CES) trade association Secretary General Pierre Germain gave an update on 3D printing of liquid silicone rubber at the Silicone Elastomers World Summit in Milan in November.
In one example, a high-temperature vulcanizing solid silicone rubber prosthetic foot made by Stamos + Braun Prothesenwerk GmbH in Dresden, Germany, has been enhanced with a soft, fast printing 3D printed UV-curing LSR lattice structure inlay for enhanced comfort.
The project was developed at Dresden Technical University's IFD institute for fine mechanics and electronic design.
Stamos + Braun was established in 2013 by Managing Director Alex Stamos and CEO Christoph Braun, with the former focusing on aesthetic aspects and the latter on technical functioning aspects.
IFD says the new insert reduced the weight of the cushion function by 70 percent over non-latticed silicone gel previously used. Initial tests have been successful, opening opportunities to develop artificial hands and fingers with integrated bone structures directly in a single printing process.
The researchers also see potential for 3D printed hearts, kidneys, intestines and spleens. As Germain pointed out, ETH University in Zurich, Switzerland, has already made a 3D printed silicone heart.