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.
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.