“The Status Game” — Is De-Globalization Good for Medical 3D Printing?


— 3DHEALS Lattice Newsletter September, 2023

All content of this email is for entertainment purposes and not investment advice. All the news we share via social media can be found here. To subscribe to this email, click here. Alternatively, we also have a LinkedIn version of this newsletter.

“In our lowest moments, we should remind ourselves of the truth of the dream: that life is not a story, but a game with no end. This means it isn’t a final victory we should seek but simple, humble progress: the never-ending pleasure of moving in the right direction. Nobody wins the status game. They’re not supposed to. The meaning of life is not to win, it’s to play.”

Will Storr, The Status Game: On Human Life and How to Play It: On Social Position and How We Use it

The Coming Age of De-Globalization 🌎

My definition of a good book is when the author can weave together seemingly unrelated historical events and social phenomena into a theory that is more consistent than others. This allows me to learn and re-evaluate my own theories on life. While anger and fear often dominate our media (because they go “viral” and thus sell), our ability to see the positive side of things is our true superpower to win the game of life.

The pandemic has exacerbated the competition among powerful nations, corporations, political systems, and parties, 3D printing versus non-3D printing, which country has the most number of patents, hence, the status games have really heated up everywhere since.

3D printing had its spotlight throughout the pandemic. First, many innovators, clinicians, and companies have jumped in to bridge the supply chain gap. New companies were born, and others, pivoted. Recently, driven by the rising geopolitical tension, economic uncertainty, and persistent supply chain issues, reshoring of medical device manufacturing to North America has become more popular among medtech manufacturers based on a recent survey conducted by Xometry. In particular, 3D printing could be the new method of choice when these businesses reshore according to the survey. This direction is also parallel with the sentiment in the AM Forward directive from the white house in 2022.

The reshoring efforts are not limited to the U.S., it is a global decoupling (attempts) phenomenon.

However, some disagree that reshoring will solve fundamental problems. Raw materials sourcing, trained labor, and decades of established manufacturing relationships are all hard to replace among others, especially in the short term, and maybe never.

That comes back to my question about what is the game we want to play here. And the answer may be “That depends”. If you are a four-year term politician, the answer will be markedly different from a CEO with decade-long global track records.

What does the 3DHEALS tribe want to play? For many of us in healthcare, our common enemy is disease, pain, and suffering. And even with global efforts, there are more than enough challenges. The U.S. is also certainly not winning on some major metrics, despite being the largest and most profitable medtech market.

For all of us, it puts a smile on our faces when more people and companies benefit from 3D-printed products. It also more often inspires than scares us to see a thriving innovation hub in other countries. Hence, 3DHEALS community was able to quickly expand to more than a dozen countries at one point. However, as recently reported by Michael Petch (Editor-in-Chief, 3D Printing Industry), “Interestingly, 3D Printing Industry was the only international media organization in attendance (to the 2023 Formnext in Shenzhen, China).” If Amazon has no issue selling Chinese printers, why should American readers be left in the dark about what is going on in the Chinese AM industry? Perhaps it has something to do with a recent U.S. travel warning? Perhaps there are more reasons. You tell me.

Mergers and Acuisitions 💸

Time flies, and before you know it, the proposed merger between Stratasys and Desktop Metal has dissolved. And in the end, no one has acquired or merged with anyone. Whew!

While I’d like to claim credit for “being right”, the detailed discussions are worth understanding, especially for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with the complex financial and legal process of mergers and acquisitions. That said, one M&A news that is worth mentioning is the acquisition of Cubicare by Align Technologies. While €79 million may be a tiny potato compared to Align’s annual revenue, as correctly pointed out by Joris Peel in his analysis, I strongly believe such a cross-sector acquisition is very optimistic for the entire industry, accelerating vertical penetration more efficiently. Also, this should be a huge encouragement to entrepreneurs and early-stage VCs in the space, as Cubicure was an Austrian startup backed by venture capital, that was generously rewarded in the end. Unlike 2021, when everyone was frothy with cash, 2023 was a more cautious/stingy year. So one should overweigh the significance of this acquisition accordingly.

Going Viral: Instagram Challenge
September Winner 🏆

Our September Instagram Challenge Winner is @grandma_ewok (Dr. Yu-Hui Huang)

This image was produced using Midjourney with the text “craniofacial medical 3D printing”.

Have fun! & Join the contest by Tagging @3dheals and using hashtag #3dhealspost

Events 🗓️

#JoinTheTribe: October 19th, 6:00 PM, in New York City. Location to be announced. Currently, this is only open to our Pitch3D and Paid Members. Subscribe to this newsletter to make sure you get notified of future events.

3DPrinted Orthotics and Prosthetics: Virtual Event on October 26th, 8–10 AM PST. Free Registration

3DEUS Challenge: 1st Great Competition for healthcare professionals wishing to develop a Proof of Concept or a Medical Device prototype. 3DEUS is a Pitch3D startup located in Villeurbanne, Lyon, France, specializing in silicone-based production scale 3D printing. Its CEO and co-founder Julien Barthes just recently presented during our biomaterials event in September, announcing this ongoing exciting opportunity for healthcare innovators to co-create use cases. Closing date for applications: 12/31/2023 at 11.59 pm.

Watchwhile 📼

While there is certainly no Swiftie in 3D printing, 3DHEALS curates a growing list of videos uniquely interesting to 3DHEALS audiences.

We feature third-party Youtube videos under “WatchWhile” playlist, featuring new technologies and applications in the space. The videos are frequently selected based on our monthly news selection (see “News” section below).

Additionally, we frequently livestream interviews and virtual events on our YouTube channel. So subscribe to our channel if you have not yet done so. Subscribe

Open Source

In the month of September, we found another incredible open-source project by a group from the University of Bristol for those of you who want to 3D print your affordable own lab-on-a-chip (also known as a microfluidic device). This is a very relevant topic in biotechnology and is also a focus of our upcoming virtual event in November. We host one microfluidics event per year:

On-demand recording 2022
On-demand recording 2021

This paper reports an open-source process “for the rapid prototyping of complex microfluidic devices in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using 3D-printed interconnecting (and modular) microchannel scaffolds. These single-extrusion scaffolds are designed with interconnecting ends and are used to quickly configure complex microfluidic systems before being embedded in PDMS to produce an imprint of the microfluidic configuration. The scaffolds are printed using common Material Extrusion (MEX) 3D printers (i.e. FDM like printers)”

While the paper contains all the links to files and instructions you need, here are some key elements:

S1 Supporting information. μ-fluid generator add-in for Autodesk Fusion.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245206.s003 (ZIP)

S2 Supporting information. Ultimaker Cura profiles. MicroChannel01.curaprofile is for the 0.1 mm nozzle. MicroChannel04.curaprofile is for the 0.4 mm nozzle.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245206.s004 (ZIP)

Book 🤓

One of the best books I read this year. The author cleverly connected major historical events, and past and current social phenomena into a unified theory about the “status game” we play to survive and thrive, including current American politics, the extreme “Left” and “Right”. While I did not fact-check all the events mentioned, the ones I did check seem accurate. I would suggest readers open the book with a sense of curiosity rather than preconceived ideas. I have learned a lot from reading this book, but even better, I now can observe our world with a more curious mind.

News 📰

By the way, you can always catch up on news we shared in healthcare 3D printing and bioprinting on this page.

  1. Precise Bio Appoints Ori Hadomi as Chairman of the Board of Directors
  2. Exploring the 3D Printing Revolution: From High-End Industry to Creative Enthusiasts
  3. 3D Systems Urges Stratasys Shareholders to Reject Acquisition of Desktop Metal
  4. M&A Can Pay Off, but It’s Far From a Sure Thing
  5. Trumpf’s Support-Free 3D Printing
  6. The Case for Point-of-Care 3D Printing
  7. Nexa3D Teams with Headmade Materials to Enable Metal 3D Printing on QLS Systems
  8. Farsoon Launches UT252P Polymer 3D Printer with Ability to Process Materials with Melting Points Above 340°C
  9. FORMLABS Launches two New Resins and Open Platform to Optimize Material Accessibility
  10. Unleashing The Potential: Quality Validation In Additive Manufacturing
  11. Replique and HP Customize Wheelchairs with 3D Printing
  12. The Exciting Future of Thin Film Electronics on Flexible Substrates
  13. Custom 3D Printed Prosthetic Keeps Cleo the Rescue Dog On Her Feet
  14. Replique and HP customize wheelchairs with 3D printing
  15. Wearable, 3D printed tech could become physiotherapy tool
  16. Boston Micro Fabrication Qualifies Mechnano Formula1µ for 10 and 25 Micron 3D Printers
  17. AR, VR Technologies Will Become Mainstream In Healthcare In Few Years: Dr Mahesh Kappanayil
  18. Redefining Healthcare with 4D Printing: The Castomize Journey
  19. First Bioprinted Meniscus Returning from Space
  20. Shape-Changing Implants, Bioprinted Tissue and Next-Gen Adhesives
  21. Align Technologies Buys Cubicure for Direct 3D Printing — 3D Systems Responds
  22. What Align’s Acquisition of Cubicure Means for Dental 3D Printing
  23. Could Bioprinted Skin Uncover a New Treatment for Eczema?
  24. Pearls for Your Practice: V-Print Splint by Voco
  25. To Design Fog-Free PPE, Student Researchers Turn to Lotus Plant
  26. Formnext South China 2023: The Future of 3D Printing Unveiled in Shenzhen
  27. 3D Bioprinting Complex Models of Cancer
  28. DeGen Medical 3D Printed Solar AM ALIF Device Implanted at Texas Back Institute
  29. Pioneering 3D Printing in Medical Practice: The Omaha Experience
  30. Partnership in Korea to Advance 3D Printing Medical Device Technology
  31. EPO Study Shows 3D Printing Patent Filing Skyrocketed in Last Decade
  32. Additive Manufacturing Can Be a Superpower, If You Know How to Use It
  33. Technique for 3D Printing Metals at the Nanoscale Reveals Surprise Benefit
  34. IMDRF Guidance Updates Thinking on Personalized Medical Devices
  35. Japanese Materials Company Buys M. Holland 3D Printing Division
  36. CollPlant Biotechnologies Joins the United Nations Global Compact, The World’s Largest Corporate Sustainability Initiative
  37. Application Effect of Head-Mounted Mixed Reality Device Combined with 3D Printing Model in Neurosurgery Ventricular and Hematoma Puncture Training
  38. 3D-Printed Nerve Networks Come Alive
  39. Redwire Space Successfully 3D Prints a Human Meniscus
  40. 3D Printing Offers Design Freedom and Reduced Costs for Premium EV Batteries
  41. The Science of Light
  42. A Modern Digital Light Processing Technology to 3D Print Microfluidic Chips
  43. Uniink: A New 3D Bioprinted Cell Therapy Approach for Type 1 Diabetes
  44. Is 3D Printing Going to the Dogs?
  45. Five Emerging Companies Triumph at Formnext’s Ninth Start-Up Challenge
  46. USA is Leading the Charge in Additive Manufacturing Innovation



3DHEALS: Healthcare 3D Printing Facts, Opinions, and Stories

Healthcare 3D printing Platform for healthcare providers, innovators, and entreprenuers