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I am currently working on parts for a custom prosthesis.

My main concern at the moment is to find biocompatible materials that can be 3D printed from a UP or a Reprap. The piece would need to be in contact with the skin for extended periods of time, probably around 17 hours a day on average.

The main concerns I have are:

  • Skin reactions caused by prolonged contact
  • Skin reactions and bruising caused by friction
  • Degradation of the materials due to prolonged exposure to skin secretions and sweat
  • Risks of toxicity in the compounds generated by the aforementioned material degradation

Which materials can you recommend?

Any extensive data (from testing) would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1

There are printers designed for medical use, and the manufacturers supply them with varying levels of certification and testing, however I've not seen a filament manufacturer certify their material as bio-compatible separate from the printer. The printing process changes the material slightly in the best case (and significantly with poor temperature control or badly set parameters), so even if bio-compatible filament were found, the resulting product might not achieve the same level of bio-compatibility.

If your intent is to use hobbyist level machine for medical purposes, you might simply want to use an interface, such as a sock or a molded/cast polymer that you know to be bio-compatible between the printed part and the skin.