The market for 3D printing is expected to grow to $16.2 billion by 2018, according to research firm Canalys. In medicine, 3D printing is being used to create synthetic heart valves, skin grafts and even to print organ tissue. Currently, tissue is being used for drug testing, not replacing body parts. Another fast advancing use for 3D printing is to create surgical cutting guides -- jigs that direct a surgeon's incisions. Here, a 3D-printed femoral cutting guide was used by matching it to a knee joint procedures to assist the surgeon in reconstructive surgery.
The guide was printed with Carbon Inc.'s M1 printer using Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) process, which like stereolithography hardens light-sensitive resin.