Breaking Down 3D Printing-The Basics

Riya Mehta
7 min readJan 5, 2020

Imagine for a moment if you could literally print a house or anything off the top of your head? Sounds like science fiction right? Growing up, I’ve always had an active imagination. Thinking I could make cities or manufacture human organs. Yeah, not your normal childhood thoughts.

And then, I learned about this technology called 3D printing. What if the cities and organs in my head weren’t just a figment of my imagination-what if I could actually bring them about?

I know, sounds too good to be true. Not with 3D printing, it’s not. But how is this technology used? What are the benefits?

Let’s dive into it.

3D Printing Explained

3D printing is generally known as the process of making a physical object from a 3D digital model. To bring the model to life, it lays down thin layers of an object’s material in order to turn the CAD representation to the physical form.

3D Printing brings two fundamental innovations: the manipulation of objects in their digital format and the manufacturing of new shapes by the addition of material.

3D printing offers an innovative approach for organ replacement, produced using 3D printing techniques. The primary use of printable organs is in transplantation. Research is currently being conducted on artificial hearts, kidneys, and liver structures, as well as other major organs.

Many of the biomaterials used in current medical 3D printing technology are metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Soft polymers, including hydrogels, are widely used in bioprinting cells for tissue/organ fabrication. Using a patient’s own stem cells, we can also limit the chance of rejection.

An MIT article stated that a similar study came out, where a replica of the human lung-the windpipe plus the 2 bronchi was 3D printed to solve the organ shortage at company United Therapeutics.

United is developing a printer that it believes in a few years will be able to manufacture a solid model of a lung in concentrated detail, including all 23 descending…

Riya Mehta

I am a 16 year old student who is passionate about biotechnology and international medicine. Currently an innovator at TKS & working with Sick Kids Hospital!