Micro-manufacturing Leader Prototypes Medical Device for Developing World with High Resolution 3D Printing

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Potomac Photonics helps Momo Scientific, a start-up at John's Hopkins University, produce their innovative device.

3D printed medical device

3D Printed Medical Device for freezing cervical lesions. Photo compliments Potomac Photonics, Inc.

3D printing can’t always do everything we need, but it is a great tool and has solved some tough problems in our project. It really helped move us toward saving women’s lives!

Potomac Photonics, a leader in micro-manufacturing for 30 years, recently built prototypes for a medical device created for the developing world using new high-resolution 3D printing technology from 3D Systems Corp.

Working with Jhpiego, a John’s Hopkins University affiliated Non-Government Organization focused on women’s health, Momo Scientific developed the CryoPop, a low-cost medical device. Aimed at developing countries where pap tests are prohibitively expensive, the simple device uses dry ice for the treatment of cervical pre-cancerous lesions. The concept is similar to freezing warts off the skin.

With the easy availability of CO2 cartridges from the soda industry, costs are low. The real beauty of the solution for a developing nation is that properly trained nurses or midwives can detect the lesions and conduct the simple procedure, further reducing health care costs.

CryoPop’s Project Manager, Marton Varady, built his original prototypes using a 3D printer in the Bioengineering Lab at Johns Hopkins. But as the medical device design developed, he needed higher precision. The 3D printer only had tolerances of 10 -15 thousandths and the support material had to be manually removed.

Mechanical machining was tried but could not drill holes deep enough for the design requirement. Instead the part was made in two pieces in order to reduce substrate thickness for the hole drilling.

But Varady remembers: “Having to glue the parts back together created an entire new set of problems for the design’s robustness. And so that was not an optimal solution. Plus, the material resulted in a porous device and it affected how the snow [the actual cryogenic element] from solid CO2 was forming”.

Hearing about higher resolution 3D printing, Varady found that Potomac Photonics, also located in Maryland, had a 3D Systems Corp. Projet HD 3000 Plus and experience with 3D printing rapid prototyping. Varady comments, “The resolution of this 3D printer was much higher than what we had in our onsite lab. Working with tolerances in the 1 – 2 thousandths range gave us the parameters we needed to fulfill the design requirement. Plus, we could make the entire part in one piece which increased robustness.”

Potomac Photonics’ President and CEO Mike Adelstein comments, “At the moment some of the best solutions we’ve seen integrate 3D printing with other micro manufacturing processes, such as laser or CNC machining. But in this case the entire design could be fabricated with our 3D Systems Corp. printer.” As Varady put it, “3D printing can’t always do everything we need, but it is a great tool and has solved some tough problems in our project. It really helped move us toward saving women’s lives!”

About Potomac Photonics

For 30 years, Potomac Photonics has been a leader in microfabrication and small hole drilling. Potomac’s contract services span prototyping to production, helping clients develop miniature products and bring them to market. Potomac is an authorized distributor for high-tech manufacturing technologies such as 3D printer and laser systems. Using cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Potomac has been recognized by both commercial and government agencies for innovation in areas such as medical device, electronics, aerospace, and automotive manufacturing. Potomac’s high-tech facility, located in Lanham, MD, is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 certified. For more information, visit the websites at http://www.potomac-laser.com and http://www.microfablab.com

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