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1 May 2014 Multiscale 3D manufacturing: combining thermal extrusion printing with additive and subtractive direct laser writing
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A novel approach for efficient manufacturing of three-dimensional (3D) microstructured scaffolds designed for cell studies and tissue engineering applications is presented. A thermal extrusion (fused filament fabrication) 3D printer is employed as a simple and low-cost tabletop device enabling rapid materialization of CAD models out of biocompatible and biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA). Here it was used to produce cm- scale microporous (pore size varying from 100 to 400 µm) scaffolds. The fabricated objects were further laser processed in a direct laser writing (DLW) subtractive (ablation) and additive (lithography) manners. The first approach enables precise surface modification by creating micro-craters, holes and grooves thus increasing the surface roughness. An alternative way is to immerse the 3D PLA scaffold in a monomer solution and use the same DLW setup to refine its inner structure by fabricating dots, lines or a fine mesh on top as well as inside the pores of previously produced scaffolds. The DLW technique is empowered by ultrafast lasers - it allows 3D structuring with high spatial resolution in a great variety of photosensitive materials. Structure geometry on macro- to micro- scales could be finely tuned by combining these two fabrication techniques. Such artificial 3D substrates could be used for cell growth or as biocompatible-biodegradable implants. This combination of distinct material processing techniques enables rapid fabrication of diverse functional micro- featured and integrated devices. Hopefully, the proposed approach will find numerous applications in the field of ms, microfluidics, microoptics and many others.
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Mangirdas Malinauskas, Laurynas Lukoševičius, Dovilė Mackevičiūtė, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Sima Rekštytė, and Domas Paipulas "Multiscale 3D manufacturing: combining thermal extrusion printing with additive and subtractive direct laser writing", Proc. SPIE 9135, Laser Sources and Applications II, 91350T (1 May 2014);

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