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Dispensing Technology Used in 3D Printing of Human Prosthetics

A Success Story

19 April 2017

By Johnathan Titone

University researchers across the U.S. and abroad use Nordson EFD dispensing solutions to print 3D replicas of human ears, noses, bone grafts, and other human prosthetics.

Nordson EFD technology has become the go-to for many 3D printing applications due to the precise, repeatable dispensing outcomes they produce.

Several 3D resins can be extruded through EFD’s PICO® Pµlse™ jet valve with extreme precision in micron amounts. In addition, the 3-axis EV Series automated dispensing system accurately places beads of material within tight tolerances and achieves best-in-class repeatability of up to +/- 0.008 mm.

Industrial-grade disposable syringe barrels connected to Ultimus™ V fluid dispensers are mounted in tandem with the PICO Pµlse system to dispense a scaffolding of materials from which to carve out the human prosthetics required for research.

3D printing of human prosthetics using dispensing technology

Here are a few more details about these types of applications:

Fluids Used

With the PICO Pµlse jet valve

  • Graphene
  • UV-cure materials
  • 3D resins

With the Ultimus V fluid dispenser

  • Biomaterials
  • Living cells

Application Requirements

Beads of material, often about 300 µm wide, must be dispensed to create the scaffolding. Beads must be placed with 50 µm of space between them and must meet tight placement tolerance requirements. The beads cannot touch.

Previous Process

Researchers typically retrofit syringe barrel dispensers onto a 3-axis robot. Fluid dispensers can handle a range of fluid types and viscosities, which is why researchers often gravitate toward them first.

Issues with Previous Process

Previously, programming required a substantial amount of time due to software limitations of most 3-axis robots. Also, some fluid dispensers lack the precision needed to produce the best possible samples. And it can take several days to produce one acceptable sample due to lengthy cycle times.



The EV Series 3-axis robot with specialized DispenseMotion™ software and an integrated pencil camera vision system simplifies dispense pattern programming. Paired with the Pµlse jet valve, which produces extremely accurate micro-deposits at high speeds, the system creates higher quality samples in a fraction of the time – hours, not days – that other systems take to produce far lower quality samples.

In addition, the Ultimus V fluid dispenser provides an innovative solution for printing materials that change viscosity over time. It dynamically adjusts dispensing pressure to maintain a constant dispense rate. It also solves a dilemma when the need to dispense particle-filled materials arise since jetting systems have restrictions for larger size particles.

Optimum dispensing components, including syringe barrels and dispense tips, complete the 3D printing technology system. With stringent quality standards, they’re ideal for full-to-empty dispensing requirements. And they’re designed to minimize material waste, which adds up to substantial savings when dispensing expensive, hard-to-procure fluids.

Have a question about this dispensing application? Don’t hesitate to contact us at

Johnathan TitoneAbout Johnathan Titone

Johnathan Titone is a Key Product Sales Representative at Nordson EFD. He spends a lot of time helping customers select and integrate the best possible dispensing equipment for their manufacturing processes. Johnathan has more than 10 years of fluid dispensing expertise. He joined Nordson EFD in 2006.

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