College Student Uses 3D Printer To Fix Crooked Teeth And Saved Himself About $7K In Dentist Bills

A digital design major from New Jersey has been straightening his top teeth for the past 16 weeks using clear braces he made himself with a 3D printer. That sound you heard was a million orthodontists freaking the hell out.

Amos Dudley had braces when he was in junior high, but failed to wear his retainer enough, and his teeth shifted. Dudley realized that he “wasn’t smiling as much because he wasn’t happy with the way his teeth looked.” He wasn’t about to drop money on braces again and clear braces can cost up to $8,000 from companies like Invisalign, Damon, and ClearCorrect.

The 24-year-old wanted to save cash (probably to pay off student loans), so he found a way to manufacture his own for less than $60. But it wasn’t as easy as “make a model and slap it into your mouth.”

The total cost is so low because he only had to pay for materials used to make the models of his teeth and the retainers. Even though he built his own 3D printer at home, he opted to use a high-end and more precise 3D printer at his school, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

He used NJIT’s equipment to scan and print models of his teeth, and mold non-toxic plastic around them to form the set of 12 clear braces.

Dudley determined out how far he needed to move his teeth to correct the misalignment problems. Then divided it by the maximum recommended distance a tooth should travel to determine the design for each alignment tray. Orthodontists use a similar process.
Researching the materials he needed and figuring out how teeth move was the most difficult part of Dudley’s orthodontic adventure.

Dudley has already gotten several requests to print braces for other people and will probably pay off the student loans in no time.

[via CNN Money]