Dr. Ralph Mobbs of the Sydney Spine Clinic turned to 3D printing to save the life of a patient suffering from a rare form of cancer. Drage Josevski was diagnosed with chordoma, a cancer that affects the spine. His case was especially difficult because the tumor was located in his top two vertebrae. Dr. Mobbs performed a landmark procedure that replaced the vertebrae with a 3D printed titanium implant. Josevski’s surgery was a success, and he is in rehabilitation to adjust to the implant. This achievement is yet another example of the possibilities 3D printing creates for the medical field.
Reportedly Metalysis has developed a process to create Titanium powder that is expected to lower the cost of 3D printing titanium metal parts. The company, located in the UK, uses electrolysis to convert rutile directly into titanium powder, eliminating much of the cost and labor (or labour as our UK brethren would write) associated with current processing methods.
The Metalysis process can operate continuously which means it can be much cheaper. For example, using the Metalysis process, the price of titanium, which now costs about five times more than stainless steel, could fall by as much as 75%, according to Metalysis.
Time will tell how much this cost reduction will encourage the adoption of metal laser sintering (SLS) in additive manufacturing.