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Aleph Partners With Fluidform To Enter Into 3D Bioprinting Industry

The manufacturer of open source 3D printer Lulzbot, Aleph Objects, will venture into the 3D bioprinting industry later this year with their latest Lulzbot Bio hardware.

It is partnering with 3D bioprinting tech developer FluidForm, a company that is based in Massachusetts. Together, they have developed a proprietary Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) technology.

In light of the growing bioprinting industry, the CEO of Aleph Object is optimistic about the future of their partnership. The bioprinting industry is projected to grow to $1.9 billion within the next decade. By combining the technical abilities of 3D printers and 3D biofabrications, the 3D sector will make great improvements.

The first Lulzbot 3D printers were created in 2011, since then, the product line has been expanded to include Lulzbot TAZ 6: Workhorse Editionand LulzBot TAZ Pro systems. The hardware used in Lulzbot is similar to the technology of 3D bioprinters.

The Lulzbot TAZ Workhouse 3D printer. Photo via Aleph Objects.
The Lulzbot TAZ Workhouse 3D printer. 

The cartesian system used in LulzBot’s 3D printers is the same as current 3D bioprinters. Instead of a hot end, the new hardware in LulzBot Bio allows semi-liquid inks and gel to be used.

Since 3D bioprinters work with materials containing live cells, the LulzBot bio will have a new enclosure and made viable for cleanroom environment.

Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels

Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels, or FRESH technology uses non-Newtonian gels as support for 3D bioprinting. Non-Newtonian gels allow a needle deposition system to be worked through to create organic shapes. After the process, the material can be cured and the non-Newtonian gel is melted to leave the finished 3D printed object.

In this instance, the supporting material gel is called FluidForm’s LifeSupport material. The methodology is similar to MIT’s Rapid Liquid Printing technique and microfludic chip fabrication conducted by the Harvard University’s Lewis Lab.

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