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Student 3D-printed his own braces and saved around $7,950

Date:2016-03-21 Hits:4022

A digital design student has managed to sort out his crooked top teeth by 3D-printing his own brace, saving an estimated $7,950 (£5,485) in the process.

Twenty-three-year-old Amos Dudley realised last year that he wasn’t smiling so much because he was unhappy with his teeth. Although he’d had a brace when he was younger, he didn’t wear his retainer as he should have done, so the teeth moved again.

‘They weren’t awful, but they were crooked enough to make me self conscious,’ 

He started to look into clear braces online. But, as he did his research, he noticed that many of the braces from companies such as Invasalign, which cost up to $8,000, looked like something that could be made on a 3D printer.

A 3D printer was something he just so happened to have access to at his school, the New Jersey Institute of Technology. ‘What is to stop someone, who has access to a 3D printer, from making their own orthodontic aligners?’ he asked.

Well, not much, except the very real fear that you could totally mess up your teeth (he prefaces his blog post with this disclaimer: ‘Do not attempt anything written here; I assume no liability for any actions you take to modify your body.’)

Which is why Amos did a LOT of research first. He used the equipment at school to scan and print models of his teeth. He worked out how much his teeth needed to move in total to correct the misalignment, and what that would mean split into 12 stages.

As he explains it: ‘I measured the total distance of travel, and divided it by the maximum recommended distance a tooth can travel per aligner.’

He eventually 3D-printed his own set of 12 clear plastic braces, which he estimated he would need to wear for 16 weeks, for less than $60 (£40).

He’s now on his final aligner and here’s the before and after shots of his top teeth.

‘Quite a bit better, I think!’ he writes, explaining: ‘I’ve been wearing them all day and all night for 16 weeks, only taking them out to eat.’ He’s also planning to print himself some retainers, which he’s definitely going to wear at night this time ’till I die’.

‘I feel like I can freely smile again. That’s what’s most important,’ he concludes.

Okay, so we totally don’t recommend anyone tries this at home, but, seriously, wow.