Monday, March 11, 2013

MakerBot Shows SXSW Attendees the Future… 3D Printing

MakerBot Gnome.jpg


For years, the dental industry has been wowed by CAD?CAM… and with good reason.


A computer's ability to take a database of tooth images, compare them to a digital image with missing tooth structure, create the missing parts, and then mill the replacement is just nothing short of amazing.


Now comes word from the SXSW conference of a company called MakerBot.  This new company has developed a scanner that uses 2 lasers and a webcam that allows their device to SCAN and then print (not mill) a replica using a specialized 3D printer called the Replicator 2.


The scanner is set to arrive on the market this fall.  No price yet, but the company has a reputation for keeping costs within the reach of small businesses so it may not be to high.


Imagine needing to re-create a 3D object and simply scanning it and then printing it.  I can see a point in the future where, as part of a new patient exam, the patient's teeth will be scanned with some type of intraoral camera and the file stored.  Then whenever a restoration is needed, the tooth is prepared and then the post prep image is compared with the pre-op image and the missing tooth structure is printed.


It just keeps getting better!

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