Stereolithography was the world's first 3D printing technology, invented in the 1980s, and is still one of the most popular technologies among professionals. There are several types of high-performance 3D printing plastics, such as PEEK, PEKK or ULTEM; they are distinguished by families such as polyaryleterketones (PAEK) or polyetherimides (PEI). Polymers represent the main category of materials with a high potential for use in 3D printing of TE scaffolding and can be widely used for the imitation of various fabrics. SLM and DMLS 3D printers can create tough, precise and complex metal products, making this process ideal for aerospace, automotive and medical applications.
For the production of medical products, nitinol allows printers to achieve things that would otherwise be impossible. SLA 3D printing offers multiple alternatives to silicone that allow manufacturers to create prototypes of silicone-like parts or even manufacture end-use parts with the flexibility, elasticity and durability of silicone. This method allows the manufacture of soft tissue scaffolds in 3D that combine biomaterials, living cells and growth factors. SLA 3D printing is highly versatile and offers resin formulations with a wide range of optical, mechanical and thermal properties that match those of standard, engineering and industrial thermoplastics.
In other 3D printing techniques that belong to the group of extruding polymeric microfibers, the method of supplying material may be different. This chapter aims to characterize some computer-aided design methods and determine the role they play in the process of designing and manufacturing tissue scaffolds using 3D printing techniques. Future activities should include testing materials for medical-oriented 3D printing methods, creating new printers that provide high-precision TE scaffolding, developing unified standards for scaffolding, strengthening market oversight to optimize implants for clinical use, and establishing a 3D printing platform to improve communication between research institutes, hospitals and companies. In addition, 3D printers have been improved to obtain extremely high resolution, which encourages their use in fabric engineering.
It is clear that in order to increase the availability of 3D printing in TE applications, it is necessary to modify the current model of collaboration between engineers and doctors. Taking advantage of the large print volume of the Form 3L SLA 3D printer, Snyman created a hyper-realistic silicone replica of an actress's body, silicone masks for actors, human-sized dolls and much more. In the case of direct 3D printing, which is shown in Figure 5, the nozzle of a 3D printer moves back and forth, dispensing waxes or plastic polymers, which solidify to form consecutive layers of the manufactured 3D object. Common 3D printing processes with polymers, such as FDM, SLA and SLS, offer several materials in this hardness range, with varying degrees of similarity in other important properties of silicone materials, such as durability, thermal stability, UV resistance, food safety, biocompatibility, and color and translucency options.