designer 3D prints their own plastic braces to fix their teeth
designer 3D prints their own plastic braces to fix their teeth designer 3D prints their own plastic braces to fix their teeth
may 08, 2017

designer 3D prints their own plastic braces to fix their teeth

an undergraduate at new jersey institute of technology creates his own plastic braces using a 3D printer and $60 worth of materials — and they actually worked. last year amos dudley had a realization – he wasn’t smiling, and it was because he was unhappy with his teeth. being a student, he didn’t want to splash thousands of dollars on a whole new set of braces, so the designer decided to make his own.

all images © amos dudley



on his blog, dudley amos writes about the dichotomy he faced at the time: he was broke, but had access to a high-quality 3D printer through his university. he asked himself, ‘what is to stop someone, who has access to a 3D printer, from making their own orthodontic aligners?’. he decided to research orthodontic procedures and plot the route of his successive braces, so his teeth would gradually fix themselves back to a straight position. on completion, all it took was fabricating a series of model iterations out of relatively inexpensive plastic, and then wearing them. it was all worthwhile for dudley, whose smile could now make even his dentist proud.



first dudley took a mold of his teeth with traditional alginate powder, thanks to the level of precision and detail it could achieve. making his casting was simple, ‘I put the mold upside down in a yogurt container, and then filled it with liquid permastone’ amos writes. he continues, ‘when it came out, i simply broke off the top to reveal the casting, and used a razor blade to smooth out the surrounding area.’



laser scanning was a painless process for him, ‘the dimensions of the scan seemed to correspond very closely to the dimensions I measured on the physical model with calipers.’ creating an animation that showed the path his teeth would take through the different stages of his braces, was also relatively easy. after the final prints of his braces came out with a cover from a vacuum-form machine, dudley sanded down the edges for a smooth finish, and to avoid gum irritation.



and for those who are curious about whether or not they actually worked, here is his classic dentist before / after shot taken just four months apart.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,528 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample