The scaffold is printed by a 3D-bioprinter present at the VUmc. Since this printer is quite complicated we need to know more about it so we can prepare our files before printing. We read the printer’s manual & we asked some questions in the meeting with the expert group.
How will the bioprinter eventually print our scaffold?
A PCL outer layer (shell) is printed to prevent contraction of the natural polymer. Daffyd assumes that the cells connect to the PCL layer which makes contraction impossible. The inside matrix consists of the natural polymer, which is a gelatine-like substance with cells.
Bounderies of Bio-Printer
The bioprinter can only read an STL file as a whole, while temperature and other factors have to be controlled per printed layer. Therefore the STL file has to be devided into layers and each layer has to be uploaded to the printer seperately. The printer doesn’t work with STL files but there is a special Bio Cad program for this. The printer works with g-code. What they didn’t try yet is uploading a dwg or dfx file.
How are the images/3D files made of a piece/slice of ear cartillage?
This is done with a laserscanning microscope, which is much more precise than a CT-scan. This is needed because the intercellular matrix of ear cartillage is very small. MRI is also a possibility, however with the laserscanning microscoop the collageen can be distinguished from the elastine.