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Inside Dental Technology
March 2017
Volume 8, Issue 3

Affordable, High-Quality 3D Printing for Laboratories of All Sizes

Zahn Dental offers the small-footprint Formlabs Form 2 3D printer

Dental laboratories exploring 3D printing technology often have found that the machines’ accuracy and efficiency directly correlate with their price and size. As the technology evolves, however, new options are becoming available, and with the right support team, 3D printing can now be a viable option for any size laboratory.

“3D printing has been around in the dental industry for about a decade,” says Bob Cohen, CDT, Executive Director, Product Development & Clinical Education, for Zahn Dental. “For most laboratories, the price to enter has been set too high to obtain a decent ROI. In addition, many of these expensive printers have come with issues of dependability. Like all other technologies, improvements and pricing should adapt to market needs.”

Among the most exciting options is the Formlabs Form 2, available from Zahn Dental/Custom Automated Prosthetics (CAP). The Form 2’s industry-leading desktop SLA (stereolithography) technology makes professional 3D printing more accessible than ever. A library of standard and biocompatible resins tuned specifically for dental applications ensures precise, accurate results. The Form 2 runs on free software designed for non-technical users, improved with regular, free updates.

Economically priced and boasting the smallest footprint of any professional 3D printer, the Form 2’s applications include models, orthodontic appliances, and surgical guides. At 35x33x52 cm in size, the Form 2 has a build volume of 145x145x175 mm.

Unlike some other 3D printers in its price range, the Form 2 meets the stringent requirements for producing implant surgical guides, according to a white paper by Daniel Whitley, DDS, and Sompop Bencharit, PhD, DDS, MS, FACP, who used Formlabs Dental SG Resin on the Form 2 to print guides for a clinical case.

“The deviation between planned and final implant position was found to be clinically insignificant and well within the average accuracy of current industrial 3D printing solutions for dentistry,” Whitley and Bencharit write. “These results suggest that surgical guides can be accurately printed on the Form 2 and can be used to precisely place dental implants with acceptable clinical outcomes.”

Whitley and Bencharit assert in their white paper that a well-designed surgical guide will securely fit the patient’s teeth or edentulous gingiva if 80% of its occlusal surface and surgical fixtures fall within 100 μm of the designed model. To test the Form 2’s accuracy, they printed 84 surgical guides and then scanned them into CAD software. On average, approximately 93% of the occlusal surfaces and surgical features were measured to be within the desired 100-μm tolerance range, clearly exceeding the standard of 80%.

“These findings suggest that using a Form 2 printer along with Dental SG Resin [from Formlabs] and the proper finishing technique will result in usable surgical guides for virtually every attempt,” the authors write.

The Form 2 also can be used to streamline production of precise, cost-efficient solid models and orthodontic arches. Laboratories can fabricate a variety of appliances by vacuum forming over printed models. Retainers, aligners, bonding trays, and night guards can be printed for under $10 per appliance.

Clearly, high-precision 3D printing is available to laboratories of all sizes at an affordable price, a development that could change the way laboratories operate. Visit for more information about the Form 2.

For more information, contact:
Custom Automated Prosthetics

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