As It Happens

College student makes his own braces with 3D printer

A New Jersey college student makes his own braces using the 3D printer at his school. Now, he's flashing a nearly perfect smile. And, he didn't break the bank.
Using a 3D printer, college student Amos Dudley made his own Invisalign-style braces. (Amos Dudley)

A New Jersey college student made his own braces using a 3D printer. Now, he's flashing a nearly perfect smile. And, he didn't break the bank. 

The digital design student wanted straighter teeth on a budget, so he used his design know-how and a 3D printer at school for his home-made clear brace.

Thankfully it worked but I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it.- Amos Dudley

"It wasn't just about straightening my teeth," Amos Dudley tells As It Happens host Carol Off, " it was a project for my portfolio that would demonstrate my skills as a designer."

Dudley researched his project using orthodontics textbooks before making a mould of his teeth and scanning that into his computer. He eventually 3D-printed 12 clear plastic braces, for each of the 12 steps he needed to reshape his teeth.

Amos Dudley, 24, is a digital design student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. (Amos Dudley)

"Thankfully it worked but I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it," Dudley says.

While similar invisible braces can cost upwards of $10,000, Dudley's total price was about $75.

"They're very similar to retainers they give you after you have braces. It's basically invisible when you put it on," says Dudley.

Amos Dudley took moulds of his teeth to make 12 clear plastic braces for each of the 12 steps it took to straighten his teeth. (Amos Dudley)

But he cautions people not to use a 3D printer and CAD software to do at-home orthodontics, "I think it was even remotely safe because I had a very simple case (of straightening)."

That hasn't stopped others from asking him to play orthodontist.

Amos Dudley made these aligners, similar to invisalign-style braces, using a 3D printer. (Amos Dudley)

"A lot of people have asked me (to make them braces) and I have to decline, it's not legal to practice medicine without a licence and there's a lot of liability."

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