In 2012 Fripp Design and Research developed a method for 3D Printing soft tissue prostheses, a project funded by the Wellcome Trust. The brief was to develop a method to 3D Print a prostheses using 'off the shelf' technologies, both hardware and software. The project was completed on time and on budget.
Although the resultant prostheses looked great, Fripp Design and Research always knew that the brief would lead to a compromised solution because all soft tissue prostheses are made from silicone and there was no commercially available 3D Printer technology capable of 3D Printing silicone.
As an established Product and Industrial design consultancy, Fripp Design and Research are experts in the use of polymer based 3D Print. Add to this the need to learn the chemistry of two part Room Temperature Vulcanising ("RTV") silicones (for the Wellcome Trust Project) and you have a perfect mix of knowledge to work out how to 3D Print silicone; which is what the company has achieved.
With a modest grant from Innovate UK (£24K), Fripp Design and Research were able to apply their own design skills and design methodology to develop a silicone 3D Printer demonstrator branded as Picsima.
Picsima is capable of 3D Printing test parts to show how the method discovered can not only 3D Print silicone, but 3D Print geometries that cannot be moulded.
The company is currnetly seeking investment to commercialise the opportunity and service the hundreds of enquiries being received.