Arfona and Valplast have entered into a joint distribution agreement that brings extrusion-based 3D printing to the dental industry with the introduction of the r.Pod® Desktop 3D Printer. Capable of printing thermoplastic filament, the r.Pod prints flexible partial dentures, study models, custom impression trays, and soft tissue gingiva for implant models. The r.Pod is optimized for printing Valplast® flexible nylon resin for partial dentures and appliances and represents an evolutionary step in CAD/CAM dentistry.
Though typically not used in dentistry because of limitations on resolution, extrusion-based printing can offer a number of advantages over more common resin-type printers. By printing thermoplastic resins, the r.Pod can create end-use parts and dental appliances as opposed to prototypes or diagnostic appliances that are typically printed on DLP and SLA printers.
“The ability to create end-use parts is the most exciting feature of the r.Pod printer," says Arfona CEO Justin Marks, CDT. "In the past, thermoplastics had to be either injection molded or vacuum formed, but the possibility to now 3D print them opens up a whole new world of CAD/CAM materials that didn’t exist before. This is particularly interesting for laboratories that work with digital impressions because now there is now a completely digital workflow for restorations like Valplast that in the past required traditional fabrication techniques.”
The r.Pod is a dual extrusion 3D printer, containing two nozzles that can be used to print parts with removable support material or multicolor/multimaterial parts. The process for designing 3D printable Valplast partials has been validated using the 3Shape RPD module while other CAD systems are currently being tested.
“We are thrilled that technicians can now move past the rapid prototyping stage and directly into additive manufacturing for Valplast appliances,” says CEO Peter Nagy of Valplast International Corp. “Our knowledge of flexible partial denture fabrication coupled with the most cutting edge technology is a slam dunk for labs who wish to go fully digital in their removables department.”
The r.Pod Desktop 3D Printer is available for pre-order exclusively from Arfona LLC and Valplast Corporation from now through the end of November with the first deliveries scheduled for December 2016. Further information is available at http://www.arfona.com or http://www.valplast.com and on the companies’ respective social media pages.