New 3D Printing Capabilities Expand Practice’s Treatment Options
The SprintRay Pro 3D printer provides Honey with increased speed and capacity
David Honey, DMD, has been a computer geek for most of his life. Growing up on a farm in southern Illinois in the 1980s, he loved watching his grandfather make things with his hands. So, after opening his dental practice in Libertyville, Illinois, it was no surprise that he became an early adopter of digital production technology.
"As I got older and went to school, I was fascinated by digital technology and, eventually, 3D printers." Honey says.
Honey has been milling crowns and bridges for 10 years, which he refers to as the bread and butter of his practice. He purchased his first fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer nearly 8 years ago, but he primarily used it to experiment with small prototypes.
"I tried to print dental models with FDM printers," he says, "but it just took way too long."
As resin-based 3D printers began to arrive on the dental market, it became clear that this technology was the right fit for dentistry. The ability to rapidly manufacture detailed, custom parts with almost zero waste was a no-brainer for creating dental appliances. For his own practice, Honey thoroughly researched the three main types of resin-based 3D printers: laser-SLA, LCD, and DLP. He was unimpressed by the low throughput and lack of FDA-approved resins available for laser-SLA printers, and he preferred DLP to LCD because of concerns regarding the longevity of LCD printers.
"DLP is a higher-end standard for speed and accuracy," Honey says.
It's been about 3 years since Honey purchased MoonRay S printers for himself and his wife. He describes them as "awesome" but says the new SprintRay Pro is on another level. With its larger build platform and a manufacturer claim of up to three times the speed when compared with the MoonRay S, the SprintRay Pro allows clinics to react quickly to patient needs, and SprintRay offers rapid replacements for lost or broken parts.
Despite the machine's compact dimensions of 14 x 16 x 20 inches, the SprintRay Pro features a print volume of 7.1 x 4 x 8 inches. It can print up to 2 inches per hour at a 100-μm layer thickness. A built-in, 6-core computer helps dentists manage jobs, ensure successful prints, and calibrate the machine. Honey says he has been able to print nine models in less than 19 minutes.
"That is extremely fast and impressive for accurate models," he says. "For my wife's office, she will be able to print more clear aligners with the increased production capacity instead of using the printer mostly for retainers."
Honey also prints surgical guides. Before he had a 3D printer, he milled his guides, but he says that placed undue stress on his mill and took quite a bit of time. The fabrication of surgical guides with a 3D printer can be completed rapidly and with minimal mechanical wear.
"With the MoonRay S, I was able to print surgical guides in 30 minutes, which was phenomenal, and the SprintRay Pro is even faster," he says. "I can quickly print surgical guides, complete the postproduction work, and have them ready the next day for use on the patient. For one patient, I even made same-day surgical guides."
Like many digital pioneers, Honey has also started printing dentures. One patient recently presented with a broken lower denture that she had glued back together, and Honey was able to scan it and print a copy in a single day. "I did some quick staining," he says, "and she was able to wear it for an interview the next day. I never would have been able to provide an immediate denture of that quality so quickly without the SprintRay Pro."
Honey says SprintRay sets itself apart from the growing field of 3D printing manufacturers with product quality and customer service. "There are very helpful online community pages for users to share their experiences and help each other, and SprintRay has live support staff available by telephone," he says. "Some other manufacturers handle customer support via email, and it can take several weeks just to get a response."
Buying a 3D printer is the beginning of a partnership, not a transaction; therefore, SprintRay's customer support is essential to their brand. Integrating new technology into a dental clinic is no small task, so they strive to make it as seamless as possible with free live training calls and a vast network of resources.
SprintRay Pro's sleek, modern design makes it worthy of being displayed prominently for patients in the office, Honey says, but the production capabilities are still the primary draw.
"It's just really fast and accurate," he says. "The SprintRay Pro allows my wife and I to do things that we previously could not do in our practices."
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