Rahul fell in love with 3D printing when he was a biomedical engineering student at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
“One of my friends in college got a 3D printer. I thought it was the coolest thing on earth,” Rahul said. “He was printing off little tiny models, and I realized I needed to know more about this technology.”
One of the popular items was a Yoda-pus, an Octopus-like figurine but with a Yoda head from Star Wars.
The 3D printing experience came at a good time for Rahul, who was unsure in which direction he wanted to venture with his studies.
“Coming into college, I knew I liked electronics. I liked mechanical things. I liked chemistry, and I had a little bit of experience with biology in high school,” said Rahul. “I figured biomedical engineering did a little of everything. That matched up with my interests.
“I was wondering what on earth I would do with that major, but when I learned about bioprinting, I realized I could combine my interest in 3D printing with the major that I studied for.”
From there, his passion for 3D printing in the biology realm only intensified.
Today, Rahul specializes on EnvisionTEC’s 3D-Bioplotter series, which is used primarily for biofabrication. There are three models — a Starter, Developer and Manufacturer — and is manufactured by EnvisionTEC in Germany.
The 3D-Bioplotter is easily one of EnvisionTEC’s most amazing 3D printers, in terms of the work customers are doing with it. The most researched biofabrication printer in the market, the 3D-Bioplotter has been used to develop a model ovary, placenta, hyperelastic bone and more. It’s also being used for non-medical purposes, too, such as printing metal with recycled rust.
Globally, several medical parts biofabricated with the 3D-Bioplotter are in testing with animals and/or humans for eventual commercial use, including bone regeneration scaffolds.
There are many aspects that make EnvisionTEC’s 3D-Bioplotter series special in Rahul’s mind. That includes:
• the X-Y reliability, with movement accuracy down to 1 μm,
• the modularity of the heating and cooling cartridges, and
• the ease of use with the tubing and needles. The system uses standard Luer-Lok syringes and with any Luer-Lok needle tip size.
But the most important feature in his mind is the reliability.
“This thing is built like a battleship so you’re not likely to spend a lot of time trying to troubleshoot the machine and you’re just going to spend more time printing, which is a huge, huge issue, especially with those $5,000 to $10,000 machines,” Rahul said.
“People just assume that that’s all they need to get going, and certainly it’s good for getting your feet wet with the world of bioprinting, but they’ll find that they just don’t have the consistency they need for long term experimentation,” said Rahul. “They’ll find that they’re spending more time trouble shooting the machine than actually making scaffolds. Then they realize they need something a little bit more robust…
“There’s a reason the 3D-Bioplotter is the most widely published bioprinter on the market.”