What is ADEISS?

The Additive Design in Surgical Solutions (ADEISS) Centre specializes in the design, development and production of medical devices using additive manufacturing techniques. ADEISS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western University, has partnered with Renishaw PLC and the London Medical Network to create one of the first 3D printing facilities of its kind in North America. ADEISS, which already has successfully acquired a license to manufacturing non-invasive medical devices, has applied for ISO 13485 certification to manufacture medical devices across a wide range of surgical uses and applications. It expects full certification to be completed in 2018.

What can ADEISS do for me?

ADEISS operates two laser powder bed machines (Renishaw AM 400). One machine processes cobalt chromium alloy (F75) and one processes titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V). ADEISS also provides the capability for heat treatment of finished parts, and metrology for component validation. ADEISS provides technical support to optimize your CAD design, and ensures that the application is suitable for fabrication using selective-laser fusion. In collaboration with the Robarts Research Institute, ADEISS also has the capability to conduct non-destructive evaluations using micro-computed tomography. Finally, ADEISS makes it possible for researchers, clinicians and industry partners to design and fabricate working versions of medical devices, implants, surgical tools and intra-operative guides at a much faster pace, in a much more interactive and adaptive environment.

What happens to my intellectual property if I work with ADEISS?

ADEISS manufacturers all components under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), to ensure the complete confidentiality of your design. ADEISS does not assume any ownership in any client’s intellectual property (IP), except under circumstances where the client requests the assistance of our team to design and optimize components. In this latter case an agreement with respect to IP ownership may be negotiated between ADEISS and client to the client’s complete satisfaction prior to engagement.

How does the strength and composition of the metal part compare to conventional fabrication (i.e. casting and machining)?

Metal parts fabricated with selective-laser melting meet or exceed the most stringent of composition tests. Devices are routinely measured within 0.5% of the density of conventionally cast metal. Selective-laser melting uses a 400W laser beam (70 µm diameter) to completely melt a small pool of metal, which consolidates to solid metal. In most instances, a 3D printed metal part will exhibit material and mechanical properties that are equivalent to – or better than-conventional fabrication. Heat treatment may be required to reduce residual stress within the part, and the surface finish (after bead-blasting) may require additional polishing for some applications.

How much will my part cost?

The cost of a component is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the size of the part and the volume of material required. Typically, small parts (i.e. components that would fit easily in your hand) will cost between $200 and $400 to fabricate. Our total build volume is 25 x 25 x 30 cm; parts that take up the full build plate will cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars depending upon pre-work and sophistication. If heat treatment is required, it can be done onsite before the parts are removed from the build plate; there is an extra charge in this case of between $50 and $200, depending on the size. The powder bed process is quite cost effective for multiple small components, produced in the same build.

How long will it take for my part to print?

3D printed metal parts are built up layer-by-layer until the full height of the part is reached. With 40 µm layer thickness, this can require thousands of layers, each requiring a few minutes to complete. This means that most jobs, once initiated, will be completed in approximately 8-10 hours. A new build is started once we have sufficient coverage of the build plate, which typically occurs every few days. In most cases, your part will be ready in 7 to 10 days.

What do I need to provide to ADEISS?

Once we have a computer-aided design (CAD) data file for your part, we can begin the process of preparing your design for 3D printing. ADEISS’ design software provides the client an accurate cost estimate of the build prior to initiation. ADEISS accepts data files in Solidworks (SLDPRT and SLDASM), ISO 10303-21 (.step, .stp), and Fusion360 (.f3d) file format. Stereolithographic (STL) format is accepted, although this file format may preclude simple design changes that would optimize your part for 3D metal printing.