MakerBot METHOD 3D Printer and LABS Experimental Extruder Used to R&D Bone-Friendly Biocompatible Material for Elbow Graft

COLFEED4Print is part of the Colloidal Processing group of the Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) and works daily to create innovative products for printing technologies, they are currently focused on various sectors, including bone and tissue regeneration by developing biocompatible 3D printing filaments.



The following describes a direct application of such a filament, the osseoinductive Oss filament, a biodegradable polymeric filament with highly dispersed bioactive phases (TCP, HAp, Mg, etc…) inside, ideal for 3D printing of customized bone and tissue regeneration.

The main advantages of these filaments are that they can combine different characteristics such as biodegradability, biocompatibility or antibacterial effect fulfilling certain requirements for implantation such as ultraviolet sterilization and customization of its porosity. These properties make it an ideal filament for both in vitro cell culture and preclinical in vivo studies.

In this case, a MakerBot METHOD and MakerBot LABS equipment was used to perform the 3D printing with this biodegradable filament, since it can print experimental and advanced 3D filaments in a controlled environment, allowing a high precision in the finishes, necessary in 3D printing for medical applications. In this way, the Oss-filament is applied in this case as a grafting solution after the removal of a part of a patient’s elbow. In this process, it will be possible to see how for applications of this type the raw material used is just as important as the controlled manufacturing process.


In this theoretical case, a patient with an osseointegration plate has problems moving his elbow. The doctor performs a CT scan of the pathological arm in order to subsequently check with 3D images why the patient’s elbow does not bend correctly.

To ensure the optimal solution, it is decided to also perform a CT scan of the healthy arm, invert the image as if it were a mirror reflection and superimpose the two scans. In this way, the pathological elbow can be compared with the healthy one.

When comparing the two images, it can be seen that there are areas of the pathological arm in which there should be no bone and other areas in which there is no bone. For this reason, it is decided to perform an osteotomy (cut the part that is not healthy) and replace it with a graft.

Up to this point in the case, the procedure performed in the patient’s real case has been explained. After deciding to perform an osteotomy, the intervention was performed where these deviations were manually corrected and the patient was given a graft. This graft is carved to size in the middle of the operating room. Therefore, during the intervention the surgeon must begin to carve a bone until the desired shape is achieved that fits the patient perfectly.

Using 3D printing and a biocompatible filament, in this case filament-Oss, this graft can be printed before the surgeon enters the operating room. If the right 3D equipment is used, this graft will be the right shape and size.

The image below shows the results of the 3D printed graft with the MakerBot METHOD LABS printer on the bone:


The result and the quality of the finish is extremely good. Despite being a filament with a completely new composition, the MakerBot teams have been able to obtain optimal results.


Personalized medicine is the future in healthcare. Being able to offer customized solutions guarantees better results and reduces the number of re-interventions. However, it is important to bear in mind that, in medicine, solutions must be safe and controlled. In research processes, it is also very important to be able to ensure a repeatable process in order to reach correct conclusions.

COLFEED4Print is a pioneer in the development of 3D filaments for innovative applications. And MakerBot  equipment offers an ideal 3D printing solution for these types of companies where innovation is key.


During research or development of new applications or products, it is essential to ensure repeatability, reliability and accuracy of experiments. Conducting research with inaccurate methods can lead to inaccurate publications or incorrect conclusions. This also happens when conducting research with 3D printing, as there are a lot of variables that most equipment does not take into account, such as the printing environment or the state of the filament.

MakerBot METHOD LABS machines are the only desktop printers with a heated chamber. Being able to control the printing environment is indispensable for the development and testing of new materials. A heated chamber allows to control the temperature of the previous layer offering a better fusion between layers. 3D equipment with a heated surface undergoes a temperature gradient as the printing layers increase, making the fusion between layers not constant and equal for each layer. A controlled environment in 3D printing improves repeatability allowing for more rigorous and accurate prints.

LABS Ecosystem

In addition, MakerBot equipment has an extruder designed for experimental materials where the extra-long nozzle manufactured in one piece allows better control of extrusion and retraction. It has a gear system that generates 200N of torque to extrude the most demanding filaments. On the other hand, MakerBot 3D printers have a solution with air filters to work with materials that emit particles harmful to health.

This makes MakerBot 3D printers the ideal tool for the development and printing of innovative products and materials.

Images courtesy of Mastertec3D.

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