An undergraduate at New Jersey Institute of Technology made his own plastic braces using a 3D printer, US$60 of materials, and they actually worked.
Amos Dudley had braces in middle school, but he didnt wear a retainer like he was supposed to, so his teeth slowly shifted back. He didnt want to shell out thousands of dollars for a whole new round of braces, so the digital-design major decided to make his own.
The process wasnt exactly easy. He had to research orthodontic procedures and plot the route of his successive braces, so his teeth would move in the right way.
But once that was done, all it took was fabricating a series of models out of relatively inexpensive plastic, and then following through on wearing them.
And it was worth it for Dudley, whose smile turned out looking remarkable.
Here is the process he went through:
First he took a mold of his teeth with alginate powder. These molds are very precise, and capture an amazing amount of detail, he writes.
I put the mold upside down in a yogurt container, and then filled it with liquid Permastone, he writes.
When it came out, I simply broke off the top to reveal the casting, and used a razor blade to smooth out the surrounding area.
Now he had a better sense of what was going on with his teeth.
The picture below shows the steps, all 3D-printed out. Labeling the pieces is critical, he advises. They look virtually identical.