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May 19, 2016

NJ undergrad 3D-prints braces: 'I open-sourced my face'

New Jersey Institute of Technology student made his own invisible aligners with $60 worth of materials

Braces DIY
3D Printed Braces Source/

A New Jersey 3D-printed a mold of his teeth and invisible aligners to save money on braces.

An undergrad at the New Jersey Institute of Technology didn't feel like shelling out thousands of dollars for dental aligners. So, with access to his school's 3D printer and just $60 worth of materials, he made them himself — or, as he put it, "I open-sourced my face."

As Business Insider reported, Amos Dudley had braces in middle school but didn't wear his retainer like he was supposed to (because seriously, does anyone wear their retainer like they're supposed to?).

So he started researching clear aligners and noticed in one photograph that the aligners had clear marks of being 3D printed. He figured, why not do it himself?

Dudley carefully read through orthodontic textbooks to make sure that he wouldn't design something that would damage his teeth. He outlined the whole process of creating the clear aligners step-by-step on his blog. Long story short: he made a dental mold, scanned it, 3D-printed a set of clear aligners and wore them all day and night for 16 weeks.

"They’re much more comfortable than braces, and fit my teeth quite well," he wrote on his blog.

He's so pleased with the results that he plans to 3D-print retainers to wear at night.

"I feel like I can freely smile again. That's what's most important," Dudley wrote.

However, he has refused to make retainers or aligners for anyone else, even for money: "I'm a designer, not a manufacturer or an orthodontist."

Read the full story here.

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