by Dr Anand Makwana, Warragul Dental Centre, VIC
We use this 3D printer for printing out models to make retainers, whitening trays, 3D diagnostic wax ups and for printing surgical guides for implants.
What’s good about it
I used to have an expensive 3D printer that was made by a US company and support was really quite poor. When it went on the fritz, it was going to take nine months to fix. My practice was committed to a workflow with a 3D printer, so I purchased this cheap version online.
It was a tenth of the cost of my old printer and works very quickly. It will print a set of models for making retainers in an hour. Its print capacity is small, but I’ve ended up buying three of these printers to keep up with the workflow.
We import information directly from iTero and CEREC and my nurses produce the models and clean up all the files. Each printer is quite small and doesn’t take up a lot of bench space.
We do a lot of Invisalign and create a post treatment scan for each patient. If the patient should lose their retainer, we can just print off a new model. It saves chair time because the patient doesn’t have to come in for an appointment.
This is not a top-of-the-range printer but it’s perfectly fine for making models, retainers and things like that.
What’s not so good
As this isn’t a dedicated dental printer, it’s a little clunkier to use. It doesn’t have wi-fi so you have to physically take a USB to the machine. There is also a bit of trial and error in getting the right settings for some of the resins. Dental printers usually have presets of all the different commercial dental resins, but this printer is completely open source—you can use any resin. It also requires a bit of tweaking to ensure it’s calibrated correctly.