A college student in New Jersey, tired of his crooked teeth, decided to fix them — all by himself, using a 3-D printer and other digital fabrication tools.
Amos Dudley is about to graduate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a degree in digital design. The 24-year-old is a self-described hard core geek with a passion for 3-D printing. So it was this technology he turned to when he decided he wanted to straighten his teeth.
Dudley had the idea to make a series of dental devices known as aligners using one of the 3-D printers at the college. After consulting a couple of orthodontics texts, he got started. First he took some old school impressions of his teeth with a putty-like material he bought online.
"I pretty much read the instructions on the back of the bag," he recalls.
Then he got seriously high-tech. Dudley used a laser scanner to turn the plaster model he'd made into a digital replica. He used 3-D modeling software and mathematical calculations to figure out how to move his problematic teeth into place. Finally, he made a dozen aligners by melting thin sheets of plastic over the 3-D models of his teeth.