The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a public Web site that enables users to share, download, and edit 3D print files related to health and science. These files can be used, for example, to print custom laboratory equipment and models of bacteria and human anatomy. The NIH 3D Print Exchange also provides video tutorials and additional resources with instruction on 3D modeling software to enable users to customize and create 3D prints.
“3D printing is a potential game changer for medical research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “At NIH, we have seen an incredible return on investment; pennies’ worth of plastic have helped investigators address important scientific questions while saving time and money. We hope that the 3D Print Exchange will expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators and students.”
NIH uses 3D printing, or the creation of a physical object from a digital model, to study viruses, repair and enhance lab apparatus, and help plan medical procedures. The 3D Print Exchange makes these types of files freely available, along with video tutorials for new users and a discussion forum to promote collaboration. The site also features tools that convert scientific and clinical data into ready-to-print 3D files.
3D Printing at HSLS
HSLS has partnered with the Swanson Center for Product Innovation in the School of Engineering to bring 3D printing services to Pitt affiliates. Use of 3D printers, materials, and design consultations are available, sometimes at no cost. For details about 3D printing options at Pitt or a consultation for your project, e-mail Julia Dahm, technology services librarian.
*Parts of this article were reprinted from the News & Events section of the National Institutes of Health Web site, originally published June 18, 2014. The entire article may be read at: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2014/niaid-18.htm.