3D tech helps GVSU create medical devices


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In a lab in downtown Grand Rapids, Grand Valley State University students are helping develop what may be the future of medical device manufacturing.

GVSU is one of only six universities in the nation and the only one in the Midwest researching the use of 3D printers to make certain parts. So far, the use of 3D printers has been limited in medical manufacturing.

"What we're doing here is we're studying the scalability of 3D-added manufacturing of medical devices," said Dr. Brent Nowak, the executive director of GVSU's Applied Medical Device Institute.

Or in layman's terms: GVSU researchers are trying to determine just how far the field can move from traditional manufacturing.

The process almost sounds simple: Pour in the polymer, send specs for the part to the printer and let the printer do its thing.  

"Instead of heating up and cooling to make solid, you're projecting UV lasers in the form of pixels up through it to solidify the material," Noah Keefer, a senior at GVSU taking part in the project, explained.

That's one of the technological differences between traditional manufacturing and 3D printing.

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