Toolchain for inkjet-based 3d-printing of dental implants

© Fraunhofer IGD
Schematic representation of the project "DentalDirect": Data preparation - Fraunhofer IGD, Material characterization and inkjet process development - Fraunhofer IPA

In spite of the increasing number of dental materials that can be processed in the additive manufacturing of dental restorations, production remains limited to single-colour structures. To overcome this limitation, the Fraunhofer-internal project "DentalDirect", launched in 2021, aims to produce colour- and translucency-graded dental restorations quickly, cost-efficiently and in a patient-specific way. The focus is on the use of 3D inkjet printing technologies. By using new print head technologies, high-viscosity material systems, including already dental-certified SLA/DLP® materials, can be processed. The goal of DentalDirect is to create an end-to-end, cost-efficient process chain for on-site production of photorealistic permanent dental restorations. With a minimal set of raw materials, the geometry as well as customised shades and translucencies shall be accurately replicateda.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) focuses on the photo-realistic data preparation of the scanned tooth model ready for production. For this purpose, the in-house developed multi-material slicing software "Cuttelfish" is adapted to the use case of dental restorations. The new algorithms are designed to reproduce the colouration, translucency and opacity of teeth as accurately as possible. The slicing software is calibrated taking into account the optical properties of the ink/resin systems used.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) focuses on the rheological characterisation of market-available SLA/DLP® material systems approved for the dental sector with regards to printability using novel printhead technologies. The aim is to further develop the inkjet-based 3D printing process in a way that enables voxel-accurate, reproducible production of multi-material structures based on high-viscosity material systems.

The project fosters the development of technologies for decentralised, patient-specific healthcare and thus aims to improve patient care in the field of dentistry.




Fraunhofer IGD: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Philipp Urban;; +49 6151 155-250

Fraunhofer IPA: Jan Janhsen, M.Eng.;; 0711 970 1144