Dental Prototyping at CADdent®
- Rapid Prototyping on dental production lines

The digital workflows in the dental industry are very similar to the manufacturing processes for rapid prototyping. But not only the workflows are similar, also the uniqueness of the workpiece. Each dental framework is a unique piece that is individually made for its patient. Before a prototype can go into series production, it is also unique. The machine does not initially care whether it is producing a dental framework or a prototype. This is why prototypes can certainly also be manufactured on dental production systems. We then speak of „Dental Rapid Prototyping“. 

The parameters that are stored in the system for the manufacturing process are decisive for accuracy and fit. The manufacturing process of dental frameworks brings with it different requirements than, for example, that of jewelry or other workpieces.

Whether a prototype can be manufactured on a production line that is set up for dental devices is a decision on a case-by-case basis.
It is important that the design data is checked by experts and, if necessary, reworked.
Particular attention is paid to the shape and size of the object as well as the design and material thickness at the points that are decisive for the design. 

dental Prototyping at CADdent®

Each dental framework is a unique piece and is individually adjusted and worked out by the dental technician. Manufacturing tolerances, such as those which arise in series production with subtractive processes, e.g. during milling, are already taken into account and minimized in the individual design on the CAD system. The difference between a series production of standard parts and a production system geared towards dental processes lies in the manufacturing process.  

Manufacturing processes that are used both in the dental industry and for rapid prototyping

Both in dental technology and in rapid prototyping, additive methods have established themselves in the manufacturing process. As already mentioned in this article, each product is unique. With conventional subtractive methods such as milling, it is difficult to plan material consumption. Additive manufacturing processes, on the other hand, have clear advantages here. The targeted use of materials for the constructed component, e.g. your dental framework, saves both resources and costs. 

Dental rapid prototyping with selective laser melting or LaserMelting

In the LaserMelting process, the design data - regardless of whether it is a prototype or a dental framework - is initially divided into individual layers by the system; this process is also referred to as "slicing". This step is necessary so that the individual layers can later be exposed in the laser system and thus fused together. 

Read more about the LaserCUSING®, Laser Sintering, LaserMelting processes.
 

Dental rapid prototyping with stereolithography

Stereolithography - a 3D printing process - is very similar to LaserMelting. The main difference is in the material used. While metallic materials such as cobalt-chrome (CoCr) or titanium are used in dental prototyping with the aid of the LaserMelting process, dental prototyping stereolithography works with synthetic resin - i.e. plastic. Here, too, slicing is necessary before production so that the synthetic resin can be applied layer by layer and cured selectively under light irradiation.

When is Dental Rapid Prototyping used?

Like so many things, rapid prototyping has its origins in the automotive industry. From there, the technology was quickly adopted for aerospace and medical technology.

Product designers have also recognized the advantages of rapid prototyping technology and use this process to manufacture representative prototypes or prototype parts. This is not only used for visualization, but also to develop and optimize production processes before series production begins. 

Rapid tooling is a special form of rapid prototyping. Have you ever heard of Casting 3D in dental technology? Then you already know the procedure. With rapid tooling, an additive manufacturing process is used to produce a shape that is later used with another process, e.g. casting.
 

Costs of Dental Rapid Prototyping

The price for the production of prototypes is calculated individually, based on the design. In principle, the material consumption is decisive for this - so the price is derived from the volume of the prototype. Some manufacturing processes require rework, which is usually billed according to the time required.  

Our tip: Especially with prototypes that are only manufactured for illustrative purposes, it is advisable to construct them hollow and to allow for a small hole. In this way, production is resource-saving, because excess material can escape and the hole can then be closed.
 

OUR CONCLUSION

Dental prototyping refers to rapid prototyping using dental production lines. Both systems and materials are suitable for many applications. You are welcome to discuss with one of our specialists at any time how a specific individual case would look like. Talk to us whether your prototype can be manufactured by us. Our experts will be glad to advise you!