3D printing has reached its tipping point and is about to go mainstream in a way that will revolutionize the economy. From the printing of jet engine parts to soccer cleats, the technology is being hailed as a revolution in how more and more products will be developed, produced.

But as 3D printers are becoming easily available to the general public, more innovative and ingenious ways of using them are starting to emerge. Amos Dudley, a student from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, have developed his own DIY Retainers by using a 3D printer.

Amos Dudley

Dudley’s teeth were adjusted by braces when he was younger. But after failing to wear his retainer, his teeth eventually rearranged themselves back to being crooked.

College Student 3D Prints Cheap DIY Retainers to Fix His Crooked Teeth
Amos Dudley

Dudley developed a mold of his teeth using inexpensive alginate powder, Permastone, and a 3D printed impression tray. He simply used a 3D scanner, CAD software, a high-resolution 3D printer, retainer material, a vacuum forming machine, the teeth mold, and of course, basic knowledge of orthodontics.

After developing teeth mold, he used scaled laser to scan of the teeth model.

College Student 3D Prints Cheap DIY Retainers to Fix His Crooked Teeth
Amos Dudley

Dudley said, “Creating the animation was also fairly trivial- I separated the visible crowns of the teeth from the gum line, and then made a manifold model from each of the shells. I didn’t bother adjusting the geometry of the gums- they are soft. Then it was just a matter of animating them into their correct positions. I measured the total distance of travel and divided it by the maximum recommended distance a tooth can travel per aligner. Each frame of animation was baked into a new STL model.”

The aligner steps were then printed out where the actual plastic DIY retainers will be vacuum formed. He then carefully fills the edges of the retainers so they won’t irritate his gums. After evolving retainers, his teeth were straightened out and looked as if the job was done professionally.

College Student 3D Prints Cheap DIY Retainers to Fix His Crooked Teeth
Amos Dudley

Dudley said, “I was pleased to find, when I put the first one on, that it only seemed to put any noticeable pressure on the teeth that I planned to move a success.”

“I won’t be making retainers/aligned for people (even if you offer money). I’ve thought about the possibility and decided it’s not a good idea for a large number of reasons. Sorry.”